Social Media – Twitterette’s Syndrome

Twitterette’s Syndrome is a localised but extremely virulent strain of Social Media Tourette’s (oh yes it fucking is) which, as you will know, gentle blog snorkeller, is an odious ailment that afflicts a small but significant proportion of the population when they are presented with the opportunity to post whatever they like to a public forum.

It can take the form of simple intolerance of anyone else’s point of view, or extreme bad language, or posting of inappropriate material (visual or written), or racial harrassment (and yes, Nick Griffin is a white bollocks – he’s a White Nazi Bollocks, actually), or career-threatening stupidity. Or one of a myriad of other opportunities to be a complete arse.

Twitterette’s Syndrome is the delusion that people are interested in everything you do, leading the sufferer to tweet things that are wholly unimportant, have no relevance, wouldn’t be considered appropriate to say out loud or are simply the product of a mind with the consistency of blancmange.

Stephen Fry, recently. So you’re a manic depressive Stephen – that’s not a good thing, and I know you struggle with it, and I appreciate that it’s not easy – but if you’ve got a Black Dog, step away from the Twitter feed. Duncan Bannantyne, not so long ago. No-one wants to know that you’re in the airport, coming back from your house in France. In fact, most people actively don’t want to know. There are a million other examples, if you go looking for them. Most are, however and thankfully, hidden from overly public view and their authors are only perceived to be useless cretins by a small group of their peers.

This morning, however, we have the salutory tale of the woman who tweeted details of her miscarriage, while she was having it. Now, OK, I wouldn’t know about it were it not for the media picking up on it. And they wouldn’t know about it were it not for a few outraged souls who feel that a woman should not be pleased that she’s having a miscarriage – in fact probably shouldn’t be allowed to have a miscarriage full stop. Penny Trunk, the miscarriagist, (with a name that ‘minds me of a cheap elephant) put forward the perfectly valid point that if you don’t want to know about it, don’t log on. Totally agree.

But what, on earth, was she thinking when she decided to tweet about it? It’s not the sort of thing that most sane people would consider a valid conversational topic. I don’t know Ms Trunk, but I’m presuming that she didn’t actually say – in her board meeting – ‘Hey up, lads, I’m having a miscarriage – great!’ But she saw fit to tweet it. This is Twitterette’s Syndrome – and I can’t help but thinking it’ll get worse before it gets better.

Oh – and Ms Trunk – she’s the ‘boss’ of this firm. She was in a board meeting. And she’s tweeting. Goes to show that social notworking is everywhere.

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