A ‘gentleman’ has recently been sentenced to 56 days in jail after posting offensive and racist tweets in relation to the horror that was Fabrice Muamba collapsing on the pitch. Many people saw the events unfold live, which must have been awful enough. To then go on Twitter and see the remarks by the aforementioned ‘gentleman’ must have been shocking.
I saw some of these tweets, and yes, they were truly awful. I cannot believe that such vileness (that may not be a word) can be thought and then tweeted by an actual human being. This person probably has family, will have children one day if not already. You would think they would put themselves in the position of the victim. “How would I feel if someone said this about me/my family?”
I am probably the most opinionated person I know, my husband will vouch for that. But I think, edit, think, edit…
I ‘do’ politics and current affairs. I am very politically minded, I have VERY strong views on the subject, but I believe (and hope) that this is not the impression I give on Twitter, because I understand that other people have different views. Every day I write a tweet that may have a political bent. Then I re-read it. Then I delete it. I know how annoyed I get when I see political tweets that have no foundation, or research, or that don’t look at the bigger picture. So I rant (in the nicest possible way) at my husband, who knows me, and how I think.
I am an avid sports fan. I could happily tweet every day about golf, cricket, tennis, F1, Nascar, Indy car. But I don’t, because I am almost certain that most tweeps aren’t interested. Eternal thanks though, to my twitter friend who reacts with joy to my sporty DMs, even though they probably aren’t interested either!!
I LOVE music, I would love to bombard followers with my favourite songs, but again I don’t. For two reasons; one is that we all have different tastes. Two is that if someone came back to me and said “that singer is rubbish!” I would be just a little crushed!
I may think not like a particular celebrity, but I wouldn’t tweet as much, because I would not like to think that I’d hurt their feelings if they saw it. It’s just my opinion and the fact they exist in the limelight is not a good enough reason to be rude. Most of the celebs that have mean stuff said about them have done nothing other than just ‘be’.
Even ‘every day’ tweets, I edit them, I wonder.. “Is there ANYONE in MY twittersphere that this could offend?” I may not always have been successful, but I assure you I tried.
The reason I have gone through the way I think is because I wish more people would think the same way. If 56 days in jail man had just thought about what he was tweeting, maybe he would be ‘never been in jail’ man. He may also now be called ‘Can’t get in to my chosen profession because I was in jail’ man. And ‘too much alcohol’ is no excuse I’m afraid. I could be as drunk as a skunk, and never would a racist comment spill from my mouth. Because racism is inherent, and it’s not inherent in me.
When the internet was in its infancy, these people were called ‘flamers’. They posted stuff on message boards just to get a rise out of people. Flaming, it seems has now evolved to ‘trolling’, and along with the birth of social network sites, trolls who sit at their keyboard in their underpants now have a platform for their voice. A voice that most of us don’t want to hear… Do they consider how they would feel if their child had died, had sought comfort in Facebook tributes, only to find something really heinous written on that tribute page? I think not.
With this voice, we, IMHO have great responsibility, a responsibility to consider others, a responsibility to not intentionally hurt people’s feelings, whoever they may be, and a responsibility to not let these trolls win.
So the fact that 56 day jail man was reported is a good thing. The fact that he did not get away with it is a good thing. Saying that, I feel the sentence is a little harsh, when thieves may be merely given community service. Maybe we could bring back the stocks and chuck a few rotten tomatoes at the offender. At least now though, these trolls may think a little about what they are ‘saying’ if they see there may be consequences.
Get well soon Mr Muamba.