On the appropriate use of Social Media

Image attribution to nicholaslaughlin on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicholaslaughlin/

For the first time in six years, that I know, I have been publicly affronted on twitter.
Who did this thing and what did I do to deserve such overt vituperation?

Well – it was the MP Douglas Carswell to be precise.
He posted this tweet on Saturday 5th January 2012:

Without giving a Tweet by Tweet analysis (which I leave to you, dear reader) I merely reproduce the exchange that followed, below:

As you can see Mr Carswell appears, here, somewhat tetchy in the exchange.

I was most surprised and not a little unamused to receive a response more resonant of that someone might utter under the age of seven rather than a more considered reply; in effect, a schoolboy taunt.

Now normally I would just pass this off with a shrug but I thought it might be of interest to other users to highlight this kind of behaviour that goes on on Twitter especially from an elected representative.

Now I have made countless mistakes on Twitter over the years and many Social Media Faux Pas but I have always stuck with the axiom – “Say nothing to anyone on Social Media you wouldn’t say to someone face to face.”

Don’t get me wrong I expect robust and incisive responses to my views. However, lowering the argument to that of an infantile playground retort, especially when it comes from an elected MP in the public eye, does nothing for their reputation other than to reinforce the stereotype of how easy politicians can be dismissive of and blind to others’ views. It also exhibits a distinct lack of civil behaviour, and a refusal to engage in reasoned debate.

There are social protocols that are beginning to emerge on Twitter and I would suggest that public servants adhere to these rather that indulge in knee-jerk dismissals that may be more at home in the House of Commons.

In other words – leave that behaviour where you came from, we don’t want it here thank you very much.

Posted on by leoncych in Continual Professional Development, distributed networking, Early Years, Educational Change, Good mannners, Peer to Peer, twitter

4 Responses to On the appropriate use of Social Media

  1. Ian

    Get over it? Really worth a blog post and this attention?

    Oooh you were insulted by something mildly insulting while involved in a text based conversation.

    Appropriate – your capable of passing judgement, fire away.

    • admin

      Thank you for your contribution QED. Oh, and your email is?

  2. Alex

    Leon, we’ve chatted about this earlier today on twitter. I too engaged with Douglas about his tweet and his logic. As you’ve been blocked you were unable to see his actual meaning in his tweet: free meant freedom to buy what you like, rather than free at the point of sale. Hence the reason he thought you were nit picking. However, I fully agree with you. He is representing 1000s of people with his views and his retort. His twitter account represents him as an MP, as the handle attests.
    If I received a retort from that from an MP I’d be just as affronted. However, no, that’s the wrong response; I’d be, and am, disappointed with them.
    We must remember 140 characters is not an easy way to communicate however he has a responsibility to behave better than that; just like a teacher or anyone else who you would expect professional behaviour from.
    He claims that he only blocks people who are rude to him. I don’t think he had cause to in this case, but you did put the thought in his head 🙂
    C’est la vie.

    • admin

      Hi Alex, yes to a robust dialectic to reach the truth but no to the impious nature of the response. I have no objection, really, to being blocked or being told I’ve got hold of the wrong meaning. The curt nature and apparent dismissal wasn’t helpful. Thank you, once again, for clarification.