Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Why the nation needs to invest in training the tweeters of the future

Twitter currently has in the region of 500 million registered users – that is an astounding figure and in my opinion, a figure that concerns me. Firstly, I am not a technophobe and I am certainly not a twitter-hater but I am a realist. I am pretty sure that the large majority of tweeters do not consider the implications of their tweets before pressing send button. Why should you? Although it seems ludicrous, it is becoming more regular that people are being arrested for their tweets due to their 140 characters breaking the law.

For example, Paul Chambers, 28 years old was fined £1000 for saying he was going to blow up Sheffield airport for their bad service. I am sure that when he sent this he probably didn’t see himself being known across the nation for his tweet. Quite simply, people do not think about what they are tweeting. It is just a platform for people to let off steam and have a rant with the unfortunate downfall of being seen by the world and eternally documented (even after you’ve deleted it!)

I am 19 and have always been strongly opinionated. However, I am very careful on Twitter as I can’t afford a colossal fine! But I have a lack of faith in how many other people there are my age whose thoughts are in line with mine. Even by looking at my 15 year old sister, I sometimes have to give her a gentle nudge with a ‘Do you really think that is appropriate – the whole world can see that you know?’ but I shouldn’t have to do that and it is about time the government stepped up and did something about it.

If young people were given some training on how the justice system works with regards to libel and defamation; I am sure there would be a significant drop in abusive tweets. With Twitter just being something that kids grow up with nowadays, how are they to know the rights and wrong of the system? Twitter has given young people access to celebrities in a way that has never been seen before – it gives people the option to openly abuse to an audience which encourages responses and spurs things on.

I believe a simple training session could be the answer – why leave the tweeters of tomorrow in the dark about the consequences of their tweets. Surely it is about time society stepped up and provided young people with the information they need to ensure they don’t break the law – drugs and sex education is provided so why is something as topical as social media ignored?

By Jessica Kirby
PR Apprentice