The Curse Of The Typed Word
‘The Curse Of The Typed Word’ was a useful phrase I learnt to use many years ago when I first started networking, mainly on forums where you are not limited to 140 characters. The wonderful thing about twitter is that because you have a limit it forces you to be a bit more tactful in that little box. Most of the time.
The saying relates to what happens when people cannot ‘read’ the meaning of your words, see your facial expressions, know your true intentions, and so it is misread to mean something utterly different or out of context. This is a regular event when a non follower is directed to your words by a third party or an rt. If they don’t know your style, don’t know you in the same way a regular follower would, they may aswell translate the tweet into Greek for all it means to them. They will see exactly what they WANT to see.
Yesterday, Ian Martin off of twitter and well known blue word user was listening to cricket on his beloved TMS. We hashtag it as #tms on twitter because ‘BBC Test Match Special’ is too long, and it gives you more room to say what you wish. For the three years I have known Ian, I have found him at his most original and funnest at these times. I love cricket and his colourful contribution, criticisms of the broadcast are as much a part of cricket to me as predicting when Kevin Pieterson will get caught out. He clearly adores the coverage, and takes the piss. Yes, takes the piss.
To outsiders this is where the curse comes in. You take one look at his tweets without previously knowing him and you would be forgiven for assuming he hates it. Like some people said to him yesterday before a certain event “why don’t you switch it off?” in his own words he replied to one “Stop following me and let those of us who enjoy moaning about it enjoy it”. I don’t have to point out the millions of folk who watch Apprentice, Xfactor, Big Brother who admit they watch it to join in the moaning/piss taking that has become a regular event on twitter. It’s what we do, it’s called HAVING A LAUGH. It is at nobodies expense because the tweets are going out into the air, sometimes accompanied by a hashtag purely to show what the tweet refers to. They are not personal.
It isn’t personal until some fucking wet wipe decides to @ a person who may be offended by the tweets and brings them to their attention. Yesterday someone did this, they tweeted Jonathan Agnew (known as @Aggerscricket on twitter) and said ‘I hope you don’t follow Ian Martin’ (known surprisingly as @ianmartin on twitter, indicating he isn’t hiding behind a false name, indicating also, not a troll).
If I were asked to come up with a twitter ideology this is the one thing I would stamp out. It’s shitty behaviour and will only end with one, or hundreds of people feeling cross and upset. Ian’s tweets were read by Aggers who not only took them as personal insults, even though they were not directed at him, but at the broadcast as a whole, but told his 164000+ followers he was leaving twitter because of @ianmartin.
And the snowball was fully formed thanks to one users moment of utter stupidity. Maybe he thought it would be laughed off by Aggers, but if there is the tiniest sign that they may not then you DO NOT DIRECT A PERSON TO NEGATIVITY WHEN IT COULD CAUSE UPSET.
Aggers followers spent all night sending Ian the usual abuse that an army off twitter followers do when one of their idols cries. I say cries because he has not left twitter. He left for 12 hours.
He came back to call Ian Martin a hypocrite. The man who was tweeting such upset and anger and clearly stated he was leaving twitter didn’t leave. Now I’m sure Aggers is a gentle man, but one thing people must have on here is a thick skin especially if they are part of a broadcast that goes out to hundreds of thousands of people. The least he could do is make his followers aware that Ian did not direct abuse at him personally and request that his followers cease from abusing him.
He is perfectly aware of the abuse because both their names are included in most of the tweets, which aren’t very pleasant. His failure to address this says a lot more about him than I previously thought.
Having met Ian a few times and received help from him, I know he has a heart of gold. He would not have wanted Aggers to be upset, otherwise he would have directed a tweet or two at him. He loves cricket, I hope he still loves twitter. And I hope he continues to spout crap in his own personal style at the great British Institution that is TMS.
Please think twice about what the consequences will be when you make someone aware of something on twitter that may not be received in good light. There are NO winners.
Beware of the curse of the typed word, and BE aware of it.