On shooting the messenger

Last weekend I undertook one of the many ‘rank yourself on social media’ surveys. Apparently I was a ‘pioneer’ at the time. (Although I have since, for no apparent reason, become an ‘ace’) At the time I wasn’t particularly impressed with it it. However, when a journalist this morning described Twitter as the ‘wild west online’ of unregulated reporting, it took on a rather different feel. The same reporter also described Twitter as an ‘amoral disruptive force‘. To me this seemed a little strong.

There is a lot of talk just now about Twitter leaking stories to the world at large and the print media, not surprisingly, are nervous about it. However, shouldn’t we remember that the heart of this story is not actually about Twitter or newspapers, but about privacy and gagging? The fact that we have found out about draconian gagging orders through Twitter should make us question the orders themselves rather than the means through which we heard about them, surely?  If a newspaper breaks a story of corruption in high places we should be more troubled about that corruption than we should about the right of a newspaper to report such a thing.

I can remember when radio programmes used to make a point about when a listener had written in ‘by email’ because it made the programme itself sound cutting edge. Now they no longer mention emails, but they do mention tweets. That will settle down, I’m sure. We may even reach the point where handwritten letters are such a novelty that they get a special mention.

In the meantime, though – lay off the little blue bird. He’s only doing his job…