Thursday 11 November 2010

Twitter Joke Trial

Paul Chambers
On the day we remember those who died for all out collective freedoms, the CPS tries to take the most basic one away. Shame. - @thefagcasanova
That sums it up for me.  Well done Gareth for nailing it best.

It's not often that something in the news riles me these days, although seeing that twat lob a fire extinguisher off of the top of a building and into a crowd yesterday pissed me off, but the verdict today in the Paul Chambers trial has me seething.

It's Big Brother gone mental, certainly the arresting Officer seems embarrassed by it all, but the Judge has decided that there was 'menace'.  Really?  Surely if there was real menace then Paul Chambers would have been arrested immediately, the airport would have been placed on high alert and it would have been all over Twitter that someone had just tweeted that they were going to bomb an airport.  None of that happened.

I don't follow Paul, I'm sure he's getting plenty of messages of support tonight, but I do wonder what this means for Twitter.  This is the establishment showing that they don't like it, consider it a nuisance and that they found someone to make an example of.  We've all seen worse tweets.  Some of us have posted worse.  A lot of us will be thinking about our tweets differently for a while.

For Paul it's criminal record and a big fine.  That's so so wrong.  

I think there's an element of policing ourselves on Twitter.  A quiet DM from someone you respect saying, 'Maybe you should delete that,' and a real sense that we look after our own within each of our ever growing, all completely different, online communities.

Freedom of speech is a basic human right.  We've all fucked up and said things we shouldn't have.  We've all said sorry and moved on.  Paul Chambers said something that was funny within the context of the conversation he was having with someone.  It was an @ reply for fucks sake.  The Judge ruled on something she doesn't understand and if the Police want to focus on the ills of Social Media, start by dealing with the idiots that set up homophobic, sexist and racist Groups and Pages on facebook.  

Then the Judge should sit down, open a Twitter account and take a look at herself in a mirror a month later.


  1. yes, all that... but I think the judge was a woman

  2. I'm often struck by the general level of civility and kindness on Twitter, as well as the humour, cleverness and weirdness. Maybe it's because I follow people I like, so I get a distorted impression, but I don't think so. You're dead right about the mutual supportiveness. Alexander Armstrong was on 5Live last week defending Twitter from the usual clich├ęd accusations by pointing out that there's 'a lot of warmth' on there. Says it all.

  3. Hear hear! Also agree with Dzhimbo's comment.

    I've been on the {DARPA/ARPA/Inter}net since 1982 and I've been privileged to be a part of a number of online communities. And what that taught me was that for the most part, people are good eggs. Okay, there's the occasional miserable person who, instead of seeking solace, lashes out in his misery, but for the most part people are kind, civil, funny, and heart-wrenchingly real. That experience led me to grow up with a generally good view of humanity.

    This kind of misunderstanding doesn't help. It'll pass, and the judge will hopefully learn the error of her ways, but as you say, it'll leave Paul marked, and that's just not fair. :-P