ELON MUSK’s purchase of Twitter has already brought us a few unintended delights. A small army of social media’s most sanctimonious and narcissistic users have either left the micro-blogging site in protest or are threatening to do so. It’s the epitome of middle-class self-absorption. Some of these people use Twitter to make them seem more interesting and vibrant. Psychologists have already begun to see troubling character traits associated with over-exposure to social media. Particularly vulnerable are people who feel disappointed with how their lives have proceeded and are thus impelled to construct a more charismatic version of themselves on platforms such as Twitter. This has reached its nadir in recent weeks as a regiment of self-obsessed, middle-class keyboard warriors claiming asylum from a rival site have begun issuing proclamations about it. These people actually seem to think that people really do give a rat’s fundament about their social media fantasy worlds. Even more troubling, from a psychological perspective, is what lies at the root of this. They’ve actually convinced themselves that some of their followers will plead with them not to go. Some prominent users have spent the last ten years or so flouncing off Twitter, wiping their brows theatrically as they depart and inveighing against “the cesspit” and “ugliness” of Twitter while vowing never to be back. Real people in the real world weren’t actually giving a Friar Tuck about that either. Their self-imposed exiles never last. For the first few days all seems fine. Then they’re confronted with the stultifying and wretched reality of their own lives: that they’re not exceptionally interesting and no crowds are gathering at their front doors eager for their hourly statutes. And so they slink back to Twitter saying stuff like: “I need to communicate with my audience” or “I can’t let the haters win” or “I believe that children are our future”. What they’re really saying is: “Please let me back. My real life is unbearable without you.” The Elon Musk purchase and the emergence of a rival site means they can imbue their flounce-offs with added layers of meaning. Now they see themselves as latter-day Moses figures leading their tribes out of the slavery of Twitter and into the Promised Land of Mastodon. This is weapons-grade delusion and really ought to require the intervention of counselling before they start taking to the hills and living like hermits. The new place where all the social media desperadoes are threatening to gather is reminiscent of my favourite, all-time Catholic joke. This is the one where St Peter is showing new recruits around heaven. Behind a 20-foot high wall can be heard sounds of glee and jollification. “What’s all that about, Peter,” they ask him. “That’s the Catholics,” says the Vicar of Christ. “They think they’re the only ones in here.” Many high-profile Twitter users begin their journeys on the site with the best of intentions, sharing wee videos that have caught their eye and sending love and kisses to old friends. Then the search for the low-hanging fruit of social media approbation begins. Is there a war being waged somewhere (preferably a continent or two away). During the Donald Trump era, a battalion of faux-liberal politicians and commentators vied with each other to express their contempt for the former US president. They all got high on their own supply of sclerotic vehemence. Very few though had the wit or writing skills to make any of their smug admonitions memorable. Then they began to get carried away, especially when Twitter increased its character count. To paraphrase the Glasgow punter at a 1960s Mike and Bernie Winters show: “Aw naw, there’s 280 of them.” Now they were issuing proclamations and policy statements. They imagined themselves as virtual superheroes, jouking around the internet and chivvying out miscreants for failing to adhere to the newly-minted moral frameworks. The absolute certainty of their own virtue and moral righteousness became quite chilling. Is it actually healthy to live every day with such certitude? I mean I’ve got a fairly well-defined set of beliefs and values, but as life has progressed these have acquired a measure of elasticity along the way. The moral absolutism of Twitter’s self-appointed moral guardians scares the bejesus out of me. Twitter’s virtual battlefield was a godsend for social media’s warriors chipping away thanklessly at the chalk face of truth. They could express their heroic virtue without having to go to the trouble of attending a protest march or taking strike action. It also bred a generation of fake politicians of a grade and calibre so low and inexpert that in a previous existence they’d have been sent to get the fish suppers for the real campaigners. The SNP’s counterfeit independence contingent at Westminster is replete with political chancers starring in their own pantomime and good for very little. They get free trips and tin medals for “standing with Ukraine” or hurling juvenile insults at other pro-independence parties or bullying female colleagues and covering up sexual misbehaviour by their male drinking chums. Many of them will have been appalled that Twitter’s restoration of authentic free speech has seen the return of the Rev Stuart Campbell and his website, Wings Over Scotland to the platform. Westminster’s affluent SNP pensioners and placemen hated the Rev Campbell but not because he was wont to express himself in uncompromising language sprinkled with profanities. They are terrified of Wings because, more than anyone else, it highlighted the lies and spin at the heart of the SNP’s lucrative independence strategy. The crushing of all internal dissent within the SNP; the orchestrated campaigns of hate directed at gender-critical women and the absence of any strategy about independence have been a feature of the years in which Wings Over Scotland was banned from Twitter. A banishment which came as a result of calling out such behaviour in, admittedly, raw and uncompromising terms. I can’t claim to be a major supporter of Wings Over Scotland as it’s occasionally been disobliging about me over the years. Who cares, though. A Herald list of Scotland’s top political operators listed Wings Over Scotland as the independence movement’s most influential resource. Many of the SNP’s – how can I put this – less robust political minds relied heavily on the rigour of Wings Over Scotland research in 2014. These are the ones whose lips move when they read out their scripts at Holyrood. If the return of the Rev Campbell and his Wings Over Scotland blog to Twitter makes these political bottom-feeders squirm a little then Elon Musk’s takeover will have yielded at least one good outcome. Read more by Kevin McKenna: Westminster politics isn’t broken, but Scottish politics is I’m a Nationalist… Get Me Out of Here!
Published on : 2022-11-14 05:49:00
Article from : See Article