Twits – The Darker Side of Social Media

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I was once fired from a voluntary organisation.

It was a curious experience. I disagreed about the way certain things were being run, but the guy running things took exception to this and decided to boot me out. It was probably my fault.

And disagreeing with people’s views can sometimes result in you getting a load of abuse. It’s par for the course within our industry, where broad shoulders and a good sense of humour are key attributes. Take BBC Radio Shropshire’s Jim Hawkins, who innocently contributed to a Twitter conversation about the new BBC Local Radio Evening Show.

To recap, this will replace the existing system of largely regional shows across the network with a single programme. It’s to be produced by former BBC exec Matthew Bannister. The Twitter conversation here is between Matthew Bannister, the listener-run BBC Local Radio Forum and Jim :

Jim’s clearly decided to play devil’s advocate here. And why not? After all, that’s the nature of reasoned debate, no?

Well perhaps it should be, except that the Twitter excerpt above came from the BBC Local Radio Forum itself, whose founders have decided that they don’t care for Jim’s opinion too much, and have started an entire thread designed to discredit him.

It’s not the only form of abuse suffered by colleagues via the wonders of social media. don’t get me wrong, I think the folk who started the BBC Local Radio Forum did so with good intentions – protecting as much local output as possible. In fact, that was one of the founding factors about this blog.

The trouble comes when anyone dares to disagree with the main two protagonists on the Forum. One of them has even taken to using the Administrator account to take sides – something no sensible forum admin should ever do.

I’m no big fan or airing dirty linen in public, suffice to say that not only have I been “asked to leave” that forum but also accused of making defamatory remarks. Something I’ve never done, yet seems to be perfectly acceptable to certain others.

A lot of today’s blog might seem a bit inward looking, storm in a teacup kind of thing. And I apologise if it comes across as such. But – since I am technically no longer able to view the forum, and therefore banned from protecting my own reputation – I just wanted to set the record straight.

Now, back to business. Broad shoulders included.

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