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The silenced and the silencing…

This week has proved to be an interesting week of account closures on twitter. Firstly there was the silencing of @Madam _ Editor and then we had the closure of the @leovaradkar account. Both could be seen as in interesting counterpoint in the world of twitter. However, I must first point out that that I have nothing against the individuals involved.
@Madam_Editor was a great bit of fun. No one who followed this account truly believed that it was the account of the great editor herself. In fact, anyone who believed that this was a true account should question their grip on reality. If it is a case that the closure of the @Madam_Editor account was due to lobbying by the Irish Times then this would be a worrying development for freedom of expression.
Satire and Parody are important parts of speech and should be protected as much as possible. Okay some people who are at the butt of such parody may not exactly seek to encourage it. Now by no means am I insinuating that Ms. Kennedy herself is behind the closure. However, in the end, a journalist by trade, of all people should seek to protect freedom of speech.
Twitter is littered with joke accounts of Irish politicians and notable Irish figures. The best ones would have to be that of @Sweary_Mary but notable mentions must be made for @CyprianBrady, @CardinalBrady and @BiffoCowan. I don’t see the individuals involved rushing to lobby the people behind twitter to close these accounts. In fact there is a process that can be undertaken for well know individuals to verify their accounts.
However, the closure of the @leovaradkar account is a different kettle of fish. The closure, due to the time line of events, was obviously a knee jerk reaction to the fallout from the heave and no doubt someway related to the column of @davekenny in the Sunday Tribune last week. If this is the case, in my opinion, any public figure closing their account brings that person down to the level of a sulking child.
In essence, public figures that enter the foray of social media need to be able to take the rough with the smooth. You cannot just engage because at the time you are popular and disengage because life throws you a wobble. Also public figures need to be able to handle the cut and thrust of notoriety. This is a point that has been well accepted by the American Courts when it comes to freedom of expression. Plus an opinion is just that, an opinion.
For both accounts, I hope the individuals involved come to their senses and come back to twitter.

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3 thoughts on “The silenced and the silencing…

  1. Well I own my identity so if someone distorts my image online they are distorting something that is my property. If someone draws a satirical drawing of me it causes me little damage but if someone(people have done this to me before) makes odd comments claiming to be that is hurting my reputation.

    Like I’m rather anti-authority. I cant have someone making authoritarian comments in my name.

  2. I would agree with your assesment and would offer one further reason behind the closure of a public figures Twitter account, the “I couldn’t be bothered” reason.

    For many, I would imagine having politicos far and wide following your every tweet isn’t the point of social media. Is it?

  3. However if a public figure closes their account for this reason they should at least send a tweet to their followers out of courtesy. Also social media is about getting like minded people together and therefore politicos will end up following politicians. Such is the nature of the beast.

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