31 July 2012


I don't know much about the "Twitter" phenomenon but instinctively I don't like it. Of course, I'm excluded from twittering because I'm proud to say I don't own a mobile phone and I have never sent a text message. But I scorn the idea of laboriously tapping out grammatically suspect lines that are usually all about self-obsession. To pare interpersonal communication down to tiny, electronic soundbites is in my book an abuse of the English language.

Yesterday, Britain's diving golden boy - Tom Daley failed to achieve an Olympic medal with his less glamorous partner - Pete Waterfield. It seems that yesterday evening Daley received an unpleasant twitter message in which a seventeen year old boy from Weymouth said Tom had let his deceased father down. Daley reported this to the police and the seventeen year old lad was arrested by the police.

It was a nasty message to send but the perpetrator had not threatened to burn Daley's house down or shoot him in the street. In my view, it's the inventors of "Twitter" who should be arrested for creating a vehicle which allows nasty young men to send out nasty "tweets" from their smelly bedrooms in anonymous streets. Another obvious point here is that if Daley doesn't wish to receive nasty "tweets" he should simply unsubscribe from the service.

My son Ian tells me that the seventeen year old youth (Rileyy_69) had previously sent a string of vicious messages to other non-famous people in which he had threatened injury with knives etc. but those earlier tweets did not attract any police action. It's only when a golden media boy gets a message that the police step in.

People have been given "Twitter". We didn't ask for it. It's an egotistical ,corporate money-making venture that did not set out with built-in barriers to prevent abuse. If I met Rileyy_69 I am sure I wouldn't like him - a socially incompetent little oik with a chip on his shoulder - but I fail to see why he has been arrested. What a waste of police time and money when there are real crimes out there that desperately need attention!.. .So that everybody was - not my first tweet but a great big bloody squawk!


  1. It seems to me that there is a real freedom of speech issue here. I don't bother with Twitter myself, but from the reports I've seen, the offending comment was 'You let your dad down i hope you know that'. An unpleasant comment that would undoubtedly upset Daley, but hardly a criminal offence.

    The question is, what would have happened if Rileyy_69 had been at the pool and made his nasty accusation face to face. Would he have been arrested then?

    As you say, and as other celebrities have found out, if you make yourself accessible via Twitter, you're likely to get messages you don't like.

  2. How bizarre. A world gone mad.

  3. I agree with SP... bloody hell.. the things I have said to Tom Stephenson here in blog land..... he could have had me strung up!

  4. In school our children are taught not to deal with any unpleasantness themselves, to run and tell the teacher. The good kids are turned into wimps who don't have a clue how to defend themselves, and the bullies take over. Twitter is just another way for bullies to reign, and they can do it remotely, from the comfort of their sleazy little bedrooms.

  5. Let's not forget the role that Twitter (other social media available) has played in the various 'Arab Springs' and the like.

    I not a fan myself but it's not all from the Dark Side..

  6. I have to confess, I'm a bit of a twitter myself. There are good things, and bad things, as with most modern gimmicks - it's great for keeping up with news, especially news ignored by the mass media (or dare I say censored). You don't need a phone, by the way, and you don't have to throw the grammar rules out of the window. It's quite a challenge to write a concise meaningful correct statement in 140 characters - something Churchill would have been proud of.
    However, there's a lot of nonsense (like, what your friend had for breakfast), and unfortunately a lot of rubbish and idiots out there - how to control it? Who knows. Idiots always find a way of making themselves heard!

  7. Oh dear, some of our Aussie swimmers have been disappointed with their swimming performances. Not won the gold medals they thought they would... and what do they blame??? "Stayed up too late on Twitter and Facebook !!! " Oh Pleeeease !!! Throw the phones away till you've finished your events and concentrate on what you're there for and if you give it your best and don't get the result you were hoping for we'll still cheer for you and support you no matter what the stupid media says!

  8. SHOOTING PARROTS As a teacher, occasionally I had to suffer very nasty outbursts from unpleasant teenagers that in comparison make Tom Daley's "problem" with Rileyy_69 seem most insignificant.
    KATHERINE You're right.
    EARL GRAY Over a year ago I had a persistent troll on my blogging back who kept calling me a "c**t". Where were the police then?
    JAN BLAWAT I agree - but these cowardly bullies didn't invent Twitter. It was presented to nthem.
    STEVE OCCUPIED Good point. And thanks for this thoughtful point of information.
    BRIAN You might be a bit of a twitterer yourself but I'm just a twit! Notice I have used the vowel "i", not "a"! I'm glad I haven't wasted a moment's energy on "Twitter". You're welcome to it.
    HELEN The relatively poor performance of Australian swimmers is down to alcohol consumption - not twittering. My son's girlfriend found a couple of Aussie Olympic swimmers sprawled on her London doorstep last evening with kebabs in their hands. All they could say was "G'day mate!" over and over.

  9. Unless she found the whole team on her doorstep YP I don't think we can label them all. It's just a pity that they think they have let everyone down when they have not succeeded in winning the medal they thought they would. A lesson in life and not counting their chickens..... and also in believing all the media hype about themselves.


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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