Twitter friends have rallied around Sarah using the hashtag #welovebaskers and I’ve been happy to join in supporting her.
It seems that too many people misunderstand how Twitter can be used. Sarah is obviously the kind of person who is very open about her feelings and opinions online. Her account on Twitter clearly states that her views are her own and not those of her employer (just as I do on my blog here and Twitter account). Sadly, it seems this disclaimer is not enough. Her tweets have been taken out of context and listed as if they were direct attacks on her employer and there have been implications that she’s some kind of binge drinker (which is ridiculous – I’m sure I’ve probably tweeted about wanting a glass of wine at the end of the week before! I hope that wouldn’t make people think I’m some kind of drunkard).
Anyone who is a digital resident on Twitter would know that many folk use Twitter as a form of self expression, knowing that a tweet about a hangover is just the equivalent of saying to a colleague before going into a meeting ‘I’ve got a hell of a hangover today’. I see my network of friends on Twitter as my extended group of colleagues.
I always tell people when I do my training that you must be careful not to write anything on Twitter that you’d be embarrassed for your boss or a loved one to read. I think I largely adhere to this. However, I am not willing to separate my personality into little boxes on Twitter. This means that I will tweet about work, what I saw on tv last night, good music I’ve heard recently, stuff to do with my Christian faith, the X Factor and The Apprentice, and yes, occasionally, what I’ve had for lunch. I behave in the same way online as I do with my friends and colleagues. At work we’ll chat about the weekend’s TV, the fact we’re going out for drinks and also, of course, about work. I do all this on Twitter too. I want to be the same person at home as I am at work. I also want to be the same person online as I am at home and at work. It’s so easy to compartmentalise your life but I can’t cope with being lots of different Bryonys – I have to be true to who I am. I wrote about this on my personal blog last year.
One of the things to remember about Twitter is that you as a user choose what you want to read. If you think I tweet far too much about the Apprentice or the X Factor then STOP FOLLOWING me! What the journalists who wrote these mean articles about Sarah have missed is that they really don’t have to read what Sarah’s saying, she’s not imposing her tweets on the world, they are there for people who are in her network who have chosen to follow her. I don’t follow Courtney Love any more because her tweets were really bonkers and got on my nerves. Writing an article like that one saying ‘Oh please, stop this twit from Tweeting, someone’ is like saying ‘Oh please, stop everyone from expressing their opinions down the pub’. It feels like living in Tudor times when you could get burned at the stake for saying the wrong thing in earshot of someone.
This recent case involving Sarah along with the other stories about the guy who tweeted about wanting to blow up Robin Hood airport and the Alibhai-Brown story have made me a little wary though.
Sadly I think I will be a bit more careful about what I tweet from now on.
Such a shame. I don’t know what else to write here really but I would recommend reading Ann’s post for a good overview – I wholeheartedly agree with her.