Digital irony

Last night on Twitter I saw a couple of tweets with our subject hashtag, #ETL523, that made me stop and wonder.

A bit of exploring and I discovered:

@LizzyLegsEllis is Liz Ellis the former Australian netballer (who is not, as far as I’m aware, a student of ETL523).

@LizzyLegsEllis has been retweeting tweets from @KathEllis74 (who is).

I might be making a huge assumption, but I suspect Liz and Kath might be related. That’s nice, I thought, showing support for your sibling/cousin/?’s studies by retweeting.

Clearly not, according to Emma the egg (who won’t be taken seriously, according to SocialTimes). Here’s the tweet that preceded the first one:

I thought (fleetingly) about replying to Emma and that damn julia, but no, on their current form that could easily turn ugly and I am a better digital citizen than that. But gee, doesn’t what these two have tweeted just sum up why we need to teach digital citizenship, and isn’t it funny/sad/ironic that it’s turned up in the #ETL523 feed?

Here are some things I’d like Emma and Julia to know:

  • It’s the nature of Twitter that not everything tweeted by the people you follow will interest you. This is not rudeness. Move on, get over it, you are their follower, not their master.
  • If you see tweets that don’t interest you…<<drumroll>>…ignore them. There’s no excuse for rudeness in response to perfectly polite retweets.
  • If you don’t like much of what someone tweets it is entirely your choice to unfollow them. They probably won’t even know (unless you tell them) and most likely won’t be hurt or care if you do – it’s your Twitter feed, make it what you want it to be. But tweeting them with #unfollow is just a bit off.
  • If you are really worried that you will hurt someone’s feelings by unfollowing (I suspect you’re not, though) you can mute someone you follow, either temporarily or permanently.
  • Using certain Twitter clients it’s easy to mute a particular hashtag or keyword. That pesky #ETL523 problem can simply disappear using Tweetdeck, Tweetbot or Twitterific.

I guess what surprised me the most about these tweets is just how some people must think it is ok to be rude. Of course, I’ve read and heard about trolls and all sorts of nasty commenting that goes on but I’ve never really come face to face with it, either personally or in a hashtag that I’m particularly invested in. I’ve had plenty of lively conversations in Twitter and there’s certainly nothing wrong with disagreeing or expressing opinions…politely. Why is that so hard for some people?



8 thoughts on “Digital irony

  1. Great post, Heather. It also shows that people need to have a sound understanding of social media platforms and to think about what their purpose is when they are engaging with various forms of social media. I have just created a digital badge for my students called the adding value badge. Before we write maybe we could all think am I adding value to the conversation or am I just commenting for the sake of it?

  2. A teachable moment for sure! It may be too late for Emma and Julia but hopefully others will benefit from digital citizenship being taught in schools.

  3. And also, how typical that people think it’s okay to treat public figures, or celebrities like this. As if, because they are more open to scrutiny, they should be prepared to accept such criticism or abuse.

    Liz Ellis is amazing. That’s all I can say.

    Trisha B

  4. Hi Heather,
    I wish I had the time and energy to be more involved with tweeting! You’ve been so good encouraging me and showing me how valuable it can be. Maybe when all this study is over…really agreed with your opinion though. And I guess I am one of those who “drumroll” ignore a lot of digital stuff that comes my way! You’re doing good – ignore…

  5. Thank you, everyone, for your comments.
    Good point about public figures Trisha. Why should it be seen to be ok to treat them like that?
    Sam, the time to get involved with tweeting is now. You will be amazed at how valuable it can be for your studies. The connections with the cohort that are facilitated via Twitter are what makes online/distance learning sustainable for me.
    Michelle, I’d love to know more about your digital badge and how it is earned.

  6. Hi Heather,
    I loved how you took a couple of rude remarks (aimed at a celebrity, who deserves better) and made it a teachable moment in your blog. You have made me think that perhaps we need to choose when to ignore and when to use those instances as perfect teachable moments. The quote that comes to mind is “Evil can only exist when good men/women do nothing.” I am sure that our kids could bring us a multitude of teachable moments by snipping comments from their online games and other social media, that would downright horrify us.

    Glad that you appreciated the weeding analogy.

    I have identified this semester that I do not ‘give’ as much as I ‘take’ from social media and am working at improving that. My inner introvert needs further convincing to actively participate after a 10-12 hour day at school. You are my shining light/reminder of the benefits of greater online interaction and contribution.
    Much appreciated!

  7. Hey Heather,
    Very interesting blog post. It amazed me the obtuse online behaviour of the tweeters. Good catch and wonderful teaching moment, which could not have been orchestrated better for #ETL523.
    I do wonder if they saw the irony in what they were posting in relation to the Digital Citizenship topic that they were complaining about. Probably not.
    Food for thought.

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