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Thursday, 1 March 2012

Thursday Thought: Is Twitter Becoming a Breeding Ground for Negativity?

If anyone knows the original source of this photo - please let me know so I can credit!

Trolls. What springs to mind? For me, I see those ugly little rainbow haired dolls. In the internet age a troll translates as "one who posts a deliberately provocative message with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument" (Urban Dictionary). And unfortunately Twitter is attracting them at an alarming rate. 

Last week saw Little Britain's Matt Lucas vow to leave Twitter afters taunts about his dead partner. Kevin McGee (Lucas's ex) committed suicide in 2009, nearly a year after the pair divorced. 

There's freedom of speech and there's being vile. Just because he is in the public eye does not make him any less deserving of respect and kindness, yet those trolls thought the opposite. Death is an extremely sensitive and personal subject, not one for public deliberation. 

Whitney Houston's death was quick to make its rounds around Twitter and was in fact where I learnt of the news. It's in our nature as humans to communicate and spread news but facts quickly turned into jokes about her death and sly comments about her past. She was by no means a 'shining example' but she was still someone's mum, someone's daughter and overall still a human being. 

Both these examples raise a few questions for me. Would people still crack jokes if it was someone in their family? Would they be able to take the taunts? I doubt it. Like the quote above states: 

"No-one has the right to judge us because no-one really knows what we have been through. They may have heard about our stories, but never did they once felt what we felt in our hearts."

And while It's rare these days that you'll log onto Twitter and not see a tribute to a dead celebrity - an emerging problem these days is, nine times out of then - they're not actually dead. British actor Rowan Atkinson is the latest celeb to fall victim to the hoax rumours circulating around cyber-space. 'RIP Rowan Atkinson' became a worldwide trending topic over the weekend with thousands expressing their condolences and even making it onto his Wikipedia about his demise. The 'joke' started by a user was quickly ruled out as a lie yet the topic remained 'hot' on the site with users arguing about how and why these things started. Boredom isn't an excuse and neither is death a 'joke', but sadly the rise of the trolls is only just beginning. 

What do you think of Twitter trolls? 

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