Firstly, I would like to offer an apology (never good to start a blog with an apology). I’m sorry if this doesn’t make much sense – it’s been swirling in my mind for a few days, and I need to get it out. It will be a jumbled mess, jumping back and forth in time like Quantum Leap, hopefully the ending might be better.
Anyway… Monday night, Miss A was contemplating bed, and I was contemplating some Call of Duty – with a final check of Facebook, I spotted someone saying ‘Doesn’t sound good what’s happening in Manchester’. I switched to Twitter – there was news of an explosion in Manchester. A lot of people said it was a balloon, or speaker, there were mumblings of terrorism. As it unfolded, I found myself double screening between the rolling news and social media. Trawling the hashtags for more information. I was up till nearly 2am, dumbfounded by the unfolding events, I went to bed, but didn’t sleep.
I woke the next morning feeling numb, upset – the story unravelling, the details emerging. I couldn’t believe how much this had got to me. We live in a world where people stream suicide on Facebook. Where a school bus is bombed and we look sad for a moment, and carry on. Everything is streamed, and spoon fed to us in real time. I sat in the bath, watching tweets of missing people, relatives of them appealing for news, heartwarming stories of bravery, and so many disgusting racial slurs. I cried. It was all too much.
I felt angry, angry at what happened, angry for the victims and their families and angry at myself for being so upset. I can WhatsApp my daughter, and tell her that I love her, some other poor souls will no longer have that luxury.
Breaking News just in – you’re a bellend.
Something that really made me angry was that a fellow Daddy blogger had done a ‘hot take’ on the news. This was pushed it out with the iconic ‘BBC Breaking’ image, so to a glancing eye, it looked like a news story. It wasn’t news, it was just an idiot, like me, with a corner of the internet with an opinion. I understand the need to write, and to process stuff – it’s what I’ve done for years now, online, and offline. To disguise it as breaking news in a sea of tragedy is pretty fucking awful though. Every part of me wanted to call this guy a cunt – I refrained and silently boiled.
In amongst the stream of news and updates were the banal auto tweets of my fellow bloggers. These were plopping out into the world at 1am that morning, and still filling up my timeline first thing. I mentioned this, and was instantly sub-tweeted by angry bloggers who ‘were cuddling their children’ rather than ‘turning off Hootsuite’ (cuddling with one hand – subtweeting with the other). So my timeline was filled with the faces of young victims, amongst smug Mummy bloggers sharing their ‘best ever cloud eggs’. I’ve written before about why automatic tweeting is so wrong – it is.
Social Media is an instant reflection of your world – the world isn’t scheduled, or to plan, and neither should social output.
The sub-tweeting got worse… Apparently –
“life goes on”
It does, of course, but we need time to reflect, think, and process. We all cope in our own way, and seeing some twat reviewing toilet roll next to the face of dead parents just doesn’t feel right. If that’s how your ‘life goes on’, I don’t think I like you.
“we need scheduled tweets and posts to make us happy today”
No. No we don’t. I’ve read some brilliant stuff before, but nothing, NOTHING would ‘make me happy’ when I hear that an 8 year old is dead. Not even the BEST Cheese Toastie recipe will raise a smile knowing that children are dead with nuts and bolts stuck inside them.
I wouldn’t bust into a funeral, dressed as a clown, screaming ‘CHEER UP YOU CANNNNNNTS’ before reciting my best ever blog post hoping that my words would make everyone smile. Sometimes, just sometimes, we don’t NEED sponsored bullshit, and twee family photos, we need the news, the facts, and some realtime opinion of those we follow. It’s not always going to be nice, pretty, or easy to see – but it’s real, and it’s right now – not lined up on a production line of bollocks.
My personal favourite was –
“we should think before we tweet today”
We should definitely think before we tweet – I didn’t tear the ‘Breaking News’ bellend a new arsehole. I didn’t call the ‘posts make me happy’ person a Twat. I thought about what I wrote. I wrote so much, and deleted it, I was thinking so much it was making my head thump. Nothing I could put into the ether that day could accurately sum up how I felt – the anger, the sadness, the frustration.
Those who weren’t thinking about what they tweeted were the problem, the ones that had their output lined up days, weeks, months ago.
I didn’t really tweet much that day. I’ve just sat and quietly burnt bridges – unfollowing those whose carried on pushing their wares as the nation took stock. Some of them aren’t just avatars in the ether, some are people I’ve met, people I know – friends even. I can’t be friends with people who consider their blogs bigger than world events. Folk who’ll happily let a bot push frothy bullshit out while bodies aren’t even cold don’t deserve to know me.
Nothing stops the shameless self promotion of bloggers, by the following evening there were more opinion pieces being thrown out. Lots using the #Manchester #ManchesterAttacks tags – their trite nonsense being shared among the faces of people still missing – desperate for a click. Even those claiming how they’ve been ‘crying all day’ alongside their automated tweets about fucking lunch recipes. Honestly, nothing stops the self promoting diatribe.
So.. just do what I did, burn a lot of bridges, unfollow the dicks.
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