I accept technology allows gives us new ways to to join ‘the conversation’. While I have been generally apathetic towards Twitter, I do know that it is a powerful communication medium, I mean it gives us a direct line to and from people we could otherwise not connect with. I’ve only recently started to get back in to Twitter and aside from exploiting it’s full potential as a spam machine, I thought it would be worth investigating how people are using this medium to talk to who have an effect on our everyday lives. I had a browse of a few replies to MPs tweets.
The shenanigans went on and on, this made me think. Firstly why didn’t the embed code work in wordpress and why was I forced to take screenshots. Secondly, why is so much of the conversation on Twitter towards authority framed this way? The humor may not be quite the same satire as Aristophanes or Orwell but I, at least, think there is something quite funny in “Fuck off Gideon”; I find myself chuckling right now.
What I find even more interesting is how the targets of this odd abusive style of humor deal with this. My guess is that most of the accounts are not ran by the people who’s account it is supposed to be and just ignore it. If Twitter is a big game where we pick an avatar and play a character loosely based on ourselves then David Cameron is playing on cheatmode, or at least he is passing the pad to somebody who is a better gamer than himself. I’m most interested in responses like the ones given by accounts such as @SirMichaelGove. While I’m pretty sure this is not Gove’s real account (where is the blue tick , Gove?) the account takes attacks that have misspelled words or has incorrect grammar and then hold the tweet up as a prize of how stupid all those people calling them names are. It’s a common defensive strategy on Twitter and is of the kind that is shying away from tackling what is happening directly. The humor is coming from people who know they have a problem but don’t know how to frame the conversation, so what is the best way to tackle it, ignore that it’s a problem and prove they are stupid?
I think both the people throwing this humor around and the figures on the receiving end find themselves in conversational constraints, is Twitter/technology creating, removing or changing the restraints and is it for better or worse?