Posted on November 30, 2010


I find #twitdef fascinating.

It reminds me of group therapy, where everyone has their point of view, their truth. In a room full of mirrors where everyone’s reflecting each other. There’s the scapegoat and the bully. We play out behaviour learned in our family of origin. No one’s perfect. Everyone contains a piece of the jigsaw. It’s happened many times before and will happen again.

It seems that “the law of the land” is changing. In an open, transparent world, the laws of karma reign.

The truth will always come out. Especially in social media.

We’re all representing ourselves, we are our own brands, our own P.R. Be careful with ourselves and others. “Do unto others.”

What we were taught at uni about objective, unbiased reporting is a myth. I never believed it. We are all subjective, biased and that’s what makes #twitdef so colourful.

Twitter is anarchy. The world has changed forever. Transparency reigns.

Many sit back and observe, don’t give an opinion, perhaps intimidated by the big personalities and their peers. I love those who share their thoughts.

One of the most poignant tweets was by a politics student @ddummer: That awkward moment when you tell your former boss that you didn’t call him an eco-fascist climate sceptic but ABC gets the audio.

Twitter is a level playing field and that’s why I love it.

It made me smile when I saw this: RT @julieposetti @lods1211 ‘What makes me pessimistic about the nation’s politics now is the character of many of the people in it.’ G Megalogenis, Q’ly Essay #auspol

The irony. I did an internship at The Australian at Parliament House in Canberra in 1993 when George Megalogenis, Lenore Taylor @lenoretaylor and Laura Tingle @latingle were journalists there. I chose The Australian because Jamie Walker was doing the most thorough coverage of the Mabo case in the media at the time.

I don’t know the editor of The Australian Chris Mitchell from a bar of soap, but it couldn’t have been easy for him to hear what was said about him and tweeted for the world to see. I’d been wondering for a long time when someone would sue someone for defamation, based on a tweet.

@julieposetti spoke about the transformative effect of Twitter on journalism at TEDxCanberra in November 2010 http://youtu.be/D_CBSR4ttqc

I wrote: #twitdef is a reminder to choose our words wisely and to be accurate when quoting others; think twice in these transparent Twitter times.

This tweet was popular: @mpesce: Defamation law is bullshit and unenforceable and a cudgel the rich use to shut the poor up. #twitdef #PandorasBox

@abcthedrum Live tweeting is a dangerous journalistic endeavour, with many legal risks writes @jonaholmesMW http://bit.ly/ibjs58

I once worked at ABCTV Archives doing cataloguing and research for Foreign Correspondent and Four Corners, when Jonathan Holmes was the E.P. He knows a bit about things.

What #twitdef made me realise, is how important free speech is to me. I was very committed to ensuring justice prevailed, I wasn’t going to remain silent. I love that in Australia we have a lot of freedom of speech. As the twitter stream was inundated with witty responses to the letter http://www.justinian.com.au/storage/pdf/mitchellvposetti.pdf a friend in Vietnam contacted me to chat on Facebook, which is “evil” and banned by the Vietnamese government.

On my Twitter bio it says: “When children feel confident about expressing who they are, they engage with the world feeling good.” I think the same is true for adults.

It also made me realise how much the world has changed with Twitter. The editor-in-chief of a newspaper owned by Murdoch was bedazzled by the tidal wave of support for @julieposetti and didn’t dare go any further. If we’re all reading each other’s tweets and blogs, how are these traditional media outlets going to survive?

Another good article was on @crikey_news Crikey has a special public service announcement for The Australian: Twitter isn’t a newspaper http://bit.ly/i3zZcl

I met a whole new lot of people. I’m not someone who loves to follow politics any more. In my 20s I read the SMH and The Australian from cover to cover every weekend. Now I just read Twitter. The journos are all on there anyway!

A whole breed of humorous tweeters came out of the woodwork, such as:

@smurray38: I am presently trying to think of something mean to say about @abcmarkscott so I can get a guided tour of Ultimo

@jonathonoake: Chris Mitchell walked into his newsagent this morning asking for the print version of Twitter

@ jonathonoake: Chris Mitchell spent half of last week trying to get the Editor of Twitter on the phone

@piouscant: 5. Replace double quotation marks with single marks – global change, except for intro para re offending posts.

I volunteer never to visit Tasmania, does that help? RT ProBonoNews: Tasmania Faces Volunteer Shortage: http://goo.gl/fb/gzZMO by @piouscant

I laughed a lot at these extremely clever people. The IQ level on Twitter is higher than I’ve ever come across in my life. It’s freaky, and they’re all just a tweet away. I believe that we are changing the world for the better.

The irony of all this is that Chris Mitchell has defamed himself.

I knew nothing about him a week ago. Zilch.

This article expanded my understanding: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/36542.html

Then I watched some past episodes of @ABCMediaWatch | Gunning for The Greens http://bit.ly/998fwY and the internet revolution & old business models http://bit.ly/gk4Yy7.

I read an editorial in The Australian which I presume Chris Mitchell wrote:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/truth-is-twitters-first-casualty/story-e6frg71x-1225965396648 He isn’t on Twitter and it looks like we can’t comment on his editorials. Where can we express our opinions? Not in his paper it seems.

I wanted to tell Chris Mitchell that @SenatorBobBrown offered to carry my backpack and ask him if he would do the same. I wrote about it here: http://francesjones.posterous.com/let-the-franklin-flow

So instead we go to Twitter to chat about it, around the water cooler. It reminds me of working at ABC TV Archives, there was a water cooler and we did go there and chat around it.

Slowly I began to get an impression of control and power. I saw an editor of the only national newspaper, with Murdoch’s might behind him.

As a psychotherapist, I see control, power and abuse of power come out in many ways. Bullying, verbal, non verbal and physical abuse. I will not sit in silence and watch someone try to exert an imbalance of power over another person. Which is how the world is changing. The old ways of money and power are having the rug swept out from under them, by people on the internet who can use their words to educate and share their opinion with others.

Then came the crème de la crème, the pièce de résistance: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/12/03/3084200.htm?site=thedrum I wrote: I nominate @jonaholmesMW for an O.A for bringing sanity to the media in Australia http://bit.ly/fRVzJ6 or a @Walkleys at least ;). His article has space to comment. Talk about transparency in the media.

Mum loves listening to @frankellyabc and @michellegrattan on @RadioNational in the morning http://www.abc.net.au/rn/breakfast as well as the more “superficial” @702sydney. Mum says I’m addicted to Twitter. I ask her if I can take her ABC radio for a week. No way.

When I told mum that people said @julieposetti is a left wing academic, she said “What’s wrong with that?” Indeed. What is wrong with that.

@julieposetti: Oh, the main issue in #twitdef is academic Leftist bias. That meme took longer than I expected to emerge. Anyone with a #savethehits version?

The problem is, I’ve never met this person. I’ve only seen a couple of photos of him. I wonder how he’s suffered while all this has been going on. The group force of “ganging up” on someone can be overwhelming and the tidal wave of support for Julie became emotional, with lots of projections. I like to meet people in person rather than virtually, to get an idea of what they’re really like.

Posted in: Law, Social Media