A very wise man (aka DB) once told me:
“Never wrestle with a pig. You just get dirty and the pig enjoys it.”
Yesterday’s shenanigans on twitter were an obvious example of such.
Recently in the Hamilton twitterverse, a recent spate of satire twitter accounts have sprung up, parodying various public figures who have engaged online. Most of these accounts are humerous and lightly jab at the intended targets. While “anonymous” in nature, it is usually quite clear in who is behind these accounts.
parody – Noun – An imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect. Verb – Produce a humorously exaggerated imitation of a writer, artist or genre.
satire – Noun – The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices.
As with most parodies, these “@not_person_x” accounts imitate the style of the target of the parody and exaggerate what is said for an intended comic effect. Sometimes they step over the line, but most of the time they are clever and entertaining and the target can enjoy the joke.
Keep in mind that the folks targeted are people who are already public figures in regular limelight – primarily politicians and they openly and regularly engage in discourse over social media.
Recently an anonymous account sprung up as an alleged parody of a private citizen who regularly engages on twitter. The target of this account is quite clear in who his identity is, the company for which he works and is bluntly honest with his opinions.
This “parody” account started innocently enough, however did not even attempt to mimic and exaggerate the style of the target, using the anonymity of the account to mock and berate the target and eventually devolving into personal attacks. I was all for a parody account of the target in question as his tweets are often quite clever and very idiosyncratic and definitely reflect the person behind the tweets. However attacking the person from behind an anonymous “mask” is definitely NOT the way to go.
This is not satire, this is not parody. This is attempting to silence a voice with which someone disagrees with or dislikes through intimidation and (as loathe as I am to use this overused term) bullying. While I understand and believe folks have the right to openly disagree with another person speaking their mind publically, hiding behind an alias is not the way to do it.
If I disagree with someone, I do it with my name attached. I carefully think my disagreement through and try to discuss it with the person online and if 140 characters is not enough, I even suggest we discuss it over coffee/tea because I want to understand where they’re coming from. I have done this a number of times and have a better understanding (and respect for) folks who have taken me up on this offer. Many times we agree to disagree on the issues at hand, but my understanding of their point of view is improved.
Followers of me on twitter and this blog know that when discussions start on twitter that I cannot finish in short bursts, I carry through with pieces here on this blog – such as this particular screed.
My twitter account, this blog and my facebook pages are open. I identify who I am by name and I stand by my opinions, which represent my opinions and mine alone. If I am proven wrong through evidence and a convincing argument, I step forth publically with a retraction or mea culpa. This has occured a number of times and I own up to them in the same forum in which I made the initial statements.