Why I need to follow the Daily Mail

I love Twitter, for lots of different reasons.

I originally signed up back in 2008 because it seemed to take the bit I really liked about Facebook – the short status updates – and cut out the rest of the crap. Once I’d signed up I wasn’t really sure what to do – I only knew one other real life person on Twitter, so I followed them, and a couple of celebrities, and dipped in and out occasionally but didn’t really do much with it.  Six years later and things have changed – I spend a LOT of time on Twitter. I manage five accounts currently – three for work, one for the blog and one just for me.

Twitter is the place I go to for news, both mainstream and industry related; for something to read when I’m bored; to keep up with what’s going on in Cardiff, occasionally to have a rant; and often for a quick chat with a small bunch of folk who despite never having met, I quite like. It’s where I go to peek into the windows on different worlds that have always interested me – medicine, education, writing – as well as learn about stuff I’m interested in for work, or politically, or just because it takes my fancy at that moment. As such, I’d have said that using Twitter has made my world bigger rather than smaller – I get to listen in to, and take part in, conversations that I’d never be part of in my day to day life.

Because I generally filter work/blog people through to the relevant accounts, my personal timeline has become curated into a circle of people just like me.  Well, not *just* like me – that’d be a LOT of muppets. But people who have broadly the same outlook on life as me, or people with whom I’ve got something in common.

On my own timeline, I don’t tend to give people second chances – if someone tweets a racist comment once, they’re unfollowed. If someone advocates violence – unfollowed. Horribly sexist, or misogynistic? Unfollowed. Bully other people through twitter? Jump on the judging bandwagon about other people’s life choices? Behave in a generally ignorant way? Tweet something from the Daily Mail in a non-ironic or non-disgusted fashion? Unfollowed.

I get my current affairs fix from people who rail against injustice and stupidity. Polly Toynbee. Zoe Williams. Deborah Orr. George Monbiot. Owen Jones. Caitlin Moran. Fleet Street Fox. Jack Monroe. I follow people and organisations who are about making the world better – The Do Lectures. Nesta. The New Economics Foundation. UK Uncut. The World Development Movement. Fixers UK. UnLtd.

Well, this is all very lovely, isn’t it. My twitter timeline is like a lovely warm bath of me-ness.  And, relax.

But. BUT. I’ve only recently come to realise the problem with this. I have forgotten that once I get out of the bath of me-ness, there’s a whole other world out there. Because I follow the folk that are constantly raising awareness of how fucked up the UK is, I’m sort of of the opinion that there’s some hope. That, like me, everyone realises that the current political climate is about demonising the poor, about creating a subservient underclass, about creating myths to set the majority of us against one another, so we’re too busy scrapping to realise that our masters are rubbing their hands in glee at their ever increasing bank balances. Until recently, I genuinely believed that everyone knew and understood that, and I equally genuinely believed that because everyone knows that, our world would change for the better, and soon.

I had the shock of my life recently. I found myself idly wondering how badly UKIP were going to get trounced in the forthcoming elections, and how long it would be before they were a distant, slightly humorous memory. So I did some research, and whaddya know, they are actually on the up, and in a big and scary way. I mentioned this to the Husband, horrified, to be met with the reply ‘well, you spend all your time reading stuff, surely you KNOW that?’

No – I didn’t know that. I’m ashamed and a bit embarrassed to admit it, but I had no idea. My timeline is full of the Premier Inn YOU KIP poster, people tearing up UKIP flyers, and amusing and witty put downs of Nigel Farage. It’s full of people writing brilliant articles that have me nodding my head and make me furious along with the writer, and the mistake I’ve made is to assume that everyone else is nodding their head and is furious too.

I thought my timeline made my world bigger. In actual fact, I have made my world smaller.

I’m going to do some following this morning, of people that I would probably punch if I met them. Dishface. Farage. Littlejohn. The Daily Mail. I feel a bit ranty about adding to their so called standing in the world by following their gobshite, but if I don’t follow them, and people like them, then I’ll remain in my lovely bath of blissful ignorance, and that’s a bit too close to joining them rather than beating them.

Thanks for reading.

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30 thoughts on “Why I need to follow the Daily Mail

  1. That’s such an interesting point…I hadn’t thought of it in that way before but it’s true…in order to get a view of how everyone thinks it is important to see what a whole range of people are thinking. Might have to go and follow a load of people I wouldn’t have normally considered too!!
    Globalmouse recently posted…Pizza in Naples!My Profile

  2. I have to say that when I worked in the business world of KPMG, I was up to date on everything. Fast forward to SAHM and I am completely clueless. And to be honest, I think I might still be very happy being clueless. The mister keeps me abreast of anything he thinks I might like to know about, but I’m afraid I’m in the dark about most things!

  3. The ‘follow’ thing is interesting, isn’t it. I think it was originally conceived as a way of showing support for someone, and their views….but you’re right, if it’s used just like that, then it’s difficult to spot horrid trends that need to be challenged. Perhaps, for the bad guys, we could think of it less as a ‘follow’ and more as a ‘stalk, so that we can pelt with rotten tomatoes if necessary’? Even so, I’d still have difficulty opening up my feed to the bigoted w****ers you mentioned!
    Nell@PigeonPairandMe.com recently posted…The Pigeons are flying the nest….My Profile

  4. Completely with you. I drove home from Cardiff to my lovely ‘rural Vale’ and was so shocked to see the UKIP placards as I drove through a couple of villages… I don’t know why I assumed people wouldn’t support them.. time to make our voices heard.
    Debbie recently posted…The Gallery: Faces of SiblingsMy Profile

  5. Don’t give those warped individuals and publications your attention. I just watch Channel 4 news every evening which is a fantastic source of balanced, investigative and well researched news. They also do a thing called Snow Mail – you can sign up on the Channel 4 news website for a daily email of the headline issues of the day. Much better than reading the Fail.
    Kirsty recently posted…The Tiger Who Came to Tea ActivityMy Profile

  6. This is oh so true. I find it’s definitely necessary to conduct a Twitter cull every now and then to stop things getting overloaded (like you, I have 5 accounts covering work, personal and blogs). But, as you say, it’s also too easy to get sucked into only following “people like me”. I make the effort to follow people with a broad range of views on topics that interest me – as long as they don’t fall into the racist/offensive/trolling camp I’m okay to follow them. But if they do they’re immediately unfollowed – you have to draw a line somewhere.

    I’m still not going to follow the Daily Mail though …

    (Post shared over on my Facebook page.)

  7. The UKIP thing terrifies me, and I totally agree with you. I think most of my friends and family have the same political standings as me, and then just assume that we are like most of the general public out there, or should I just say, good people. But perhaps it is a good idea to keep your enemies close!
    abigail recently posted…Windmill Hill city farmMy Profile

  8. Really enjoyed reading your post. I am *whispers* addicted to the Daily Mail online and I hate it! It makes me angry and so cross but I can’t stop reading it. I tell myself that I am reading it as well as The Guardian to try and get a ‘whole’ perspective of everything that is happening in the world but I still hate the fact that I read the DM online and its toolbar of shame, where it praises a woman for being slim and then the next minute will bash the same woman for being too slim. Makes me so cross!!!
    Emma recently posted…Liberation DayMy Profile

  9. It is so easy to get caught up in the things you want to read and like you say, filter out the stuff we don’t but every now and then it is good to find out waht is really going on too! Good luck with your new follows
    Kizzy recently posted…Word of the Week #WotWMy Profile

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