Celebrities, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Last week we launched a campaign to end internet hate and just days later, you’re at it again! Claudia Winkleman, we’re looking at you.
If you had your eyes pointed ‘pigward last week, you’ll have seen our anti-trolling petition. It, along with our call on the Government to reignite its public service announcements with an all-new web agenda are our way of saying the web can be a better place if we all stop lobbing virtual verbal stones at each other. This should probably start at the top: with the kind of people that live both their real, and virtual, lives in the public eye.
We’re talking specifically about Twitter. Looking around, it doesn’t take much effort to uncover acts of online hate being committed by household names. Look at this morning’s pointless, non-constructive outburst from TV lovely Claudia Winkleman, for instance:
Aiming that kind of hatred at a helpless customer service worker isn’t going to help your family-friendly image, Winkleman. And she’s not alone in the Twitter rage. Far from it. Remember Lord Schr’Alan Sugar‘s very public online row with Louise Mensch?
It’s all a bit playground-ish, isn’t it? Especially from a man who proudly eschews his formal education in favour of selling things from the back of a van. And it gets worse. Dark, and worryingly worse. Have you ever seen the meme based on rapper Xzibit’s penchant for putting things in things on Pimp My Ride?
He’s not a fan. Really, really not a fan. The best course of action in this sort of situation is to laugh at yourself, take the joke and, hey, maybe even be proud that you’ve become part of internet lore. What you shouldn’t do is threaten people thusly:
Not cool, Xzibit. You’re better than that. Similar teenage role model, not to mention web singing sensation Lily Allen has also been known to get involved in virtual fisticuffs. First she got herself into a public slanging match with Courtney Love:
…Then landed in hot water for encouraging an online attacker to take up bulimia. Come on, guys: you can press the ‘delete’ button, but people can’t unread what they’ve read, and the internet has a long memory. These things will haunt you forever.
Want another unsavoury example? How about this embarrassing stuff from the sorts of people that we Young People Of The Web are supposed to be looked up to. Piers Morgan does a fine job of baiting his fellow celebrities into it, but you’ve got to take a breath, step back and exercise restraint, not burst into hour-long rows, as Rio Ferdinand did last year.
And certainly not let yourself get caught up in a bitter rivalry, as Alan Sugar‘s done:
All in all, we’d say it’s high time that celebrities grew up a bit and started treating their accounts with a touch more respect. If only there was a government initiative to remind everyone to be a bit more tolerant online. Oh wait…
Sign the e-petition:
‘Public service adverts for web tolerance’