When social media goes feral

I hate it.    And I don’t say that lightly.   I am a huge fan of social media (but then you know that) and yesterday morning I adored it more than ever.  I learned I was a finalist in the Brilliance in Blogging awards (into the final six) in the Social Media category, but more about that in another post.

By 4pm I hated it.    News had broken on Twitter of a gruesome attack in Woolwich.  A young man, now confirmed as a soldier, had been murdered in the street.   Twitter had exploded.   Tweets from eye witnesses there were being retweeted.   And then I saw a tweet that horrified me.   Somebody at RexFeatures ( a picture house) was asking for photos to be emailed to them, presumably to then be sold on to the press.   What were those photos going to show?  Yes, the immediate aftermath.   Bloody, gruesome photos.   Possibly of the victim, maybe also the two alleged murderers.

That victim deserved some dignity.  His family, friends, colleagues may have also been on Twitter and do not need to see those photos.  Nobody needs to see those photos.

Twitter is no place for that.   No place at all.   We don’t want to see photos of that.  Yes, report the facts.   But not photos.

The front page of the national press shows huge photos today of a man, presumably the attacker, standing with his hands covered in blood.   I am sorry, we do not need to see that.  It adds nothing to the story.  Nothing.    It is sensationalist.

 Tweet after Tweet has talked about nothing but religion / muslims / EDF / terrorism.   This is a murder.   A cold hard murder of a young man.    What we don’t need right now is an outpouring of national hatred towards any part of our community.   These two alleged murderers are just that.

Was COBRA scrambled after a 73 year old Pakistani man was stabbed to death after leaving a mosque in Birmingham earlier this month?  That story barely registered in the press by the following day.  Did we hear shouts of terrorism then?  If so, they were not very loud.  There was hardly outrage on a national level.

Please don’t use this as an opportunity for the country to implode and for social media to be a platform for people to be able to spout their own hatred.

And yes, that is a picture of a fluffy kitten.  It is what we need to be looking at right now.  Not bloody murderers.  And take a moment to remember a young man who lost his life yesterday.  RIP young man

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  • Well said T, well said. I missed this all happening yesterday and only woke up to the news after a night off tv and social media. I hope the family (and the extended family that are his regiment) are given the privacy and support they will much need and are not subjected to speculation and gore.

  • Thank you for saying similar on my Facebook status today.I’m frightened to see what else has been said and to ever mention cake 🙁 R.I.P. young man x

  • Agree completely. We don’t need the murderers to be turned into celebrities by our national newspapers. We just need to remember the tragic loss of a young solider. RIP x

  • I so agree with you and that’s exactly what I thought yesterday when I was watching the news and all you could see was a body lying in the street and a murderer with bloody hands speaking to the people in the street. We don’t need this, neither does the family of this poor young man. This is totally disgusting!

  • The murderers were extremists who should not be elevated. Giving them the attention that the media is, adds fuel to a fire; a fire that ought to be put out with extinguishers.

    If a fluffy cat is an extinguisher, get me one right now

  • My first reaction to the news? The police marksmen should have been more accurate!

    On reflection – better wounded suspects than dead men because that’s just what these two men wanted!

    Once restored to health – at our expense of course – they should be remanded on bail for [say] 10 years and then deported. No parole of course.

  • Very well said! There is news and then there is being unecessarily sensationalist and using the news as an excuse to attack a particular group of people. There is never any need to show such horrific pictures where family and friends of the victim, not to mention children and indeed any of us can see them. We don’t need to see blood and gore to know that something is horrific.