Tweet, untweet

A cautionary tale

In the light of Monday night’s terrorist attack in Manchester, Twitter was doing all the things it at which it is both best and worst yesterday. On the positive side, it was helping to fuel the #roomsformanchester initiative and providing a ‘virtual noticeboard’ for those looking for loved ones. On the negative side, it was providing the usual portal for those intent on spewing half-truth and prejudice of every kind.

It was one of those days when Twitter was constantly ‘on’ in the background, and I saw the notification of Roger Moore’s death shortly after hearing that Manchester’s youngest victim had been named. Straight away, comparisons started to form in my mind – his urbane sophistication against her childish innocence. His many adventures lay behind him whereas hers will lie forever unfulfilled before her. Reacting to all of this, I posted a version of the tweet below:


After about 30 minutes I took it down, and here are some of my reasons why.

  • It is a mistake to assume that loss is on any scale of merit – loss is loss is loss
  • The actor’s family will be missing him just as the little girl’s family are missing her.
  • It is human life itself which is precious – old, young, famous, obscure, all are indescribably precious to somebody.

I write this because I want the digital landscape to be a kind place. I want it to be a place where the air is clean and opinions can exchange without any need for shouting. I want to believe that people will make it that way by policing their own content, as I have done. It is to that end that I have written about this very small episode of mine – we learn by mistakes.

To all who grieve – today, and whatever day you may read this – may you find comfort and peace.


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