Monday, October 22, 2012

Internet trolls target Adele

Pop icon and national treasure Adele gave birth to a baby son on Friday. Adele is, without doubt, one of the most talented young women currently living and working in Britain: she wrote a platinum album when she was still in her teens, her second album won six Grammys, and she was the only logical choice for the new Bond theme, Skyfall. What's more, she achieved all these things against the odds - when Adele was very young, her father walked out on her mother who had to work two jobs in order to support her. If we can take pride in any individual citizen, we should be proud of Adele.

If we’re going to react to her happy news, surely we should be congratulating and celebrating? Yet the singer has been targeted by Twitter bullies, who made dark, threatening comments about her new baby.

"... the singer has been targeted by Twitter bullies, who made dark, threatening comments about her new baby."

One of the less offensive tweets read: "Adele’s so fat that no-one ever even knew she was pregnant."

Bullying celebrities on Twitter is nothing new. This summer’s Olympic celebrations were marred when an infamous Tweeter targeted swimmer Tom Daley with hate messages. If you look at the replies column of any actor, musician or well known personality, the statements of support and admiration will be interspersed with negative, unkind words.

Twitter is a great equaliser. The rich and famous are no longer remote - you can say anything to anyone in 140 characters as long as they have an account. And more often than not, these interactions are a source of joy. Artists love hearing positive reactions to their work, and fans love having conversations with their idols. But Twitter also takes down the barriers that protect artists from the hate and envy of others. It’s often observed that Twitter bullies would never have the guts to take their hate offline and go out of their way to offend a celebrity in person. So why on earth do they do it on the internet?

"Words can hurt people."

It’s easy to forget that Twitter is personal. When you choose to attack a celebrity, they might seem so rich, successful and powerful that they’re immune to vulnerable feelings. But words can hurt people - it doesn’t matter how many albums they have sold or awards they have won. It’s very unusual to hate people for the sake of it - but hate is a very straightforward way of expressing envy or jealousy. I hope that none of the Twitter bullies genuinely wish any harm on Adele or her baby, but I’m certain that many of them envy her talent, success and lifestyle.

If you’re about to tweet abuse at someone, ask yourself why they make you feel negative. Once you’ve worked out what it is that you resent about their life, you can figure out what’s missing from your own, and start thinking about how to make that happen. If all else fails, think about whether you would walk up to that person and make that comment face to face. If the answer is no, you’re in no position to hit ‘send’.

Do you agree with this? Join the debate on Twitter using the hashtag #socialvoices or leave a comment below.

Daisy Buchanan writes about anything from feminism to reality telly for Sabotage Times, Vagenda and Huffington Post. She tweets a lot - if you like pictures of rude signs and silly puns, she's @notrollergirl.

No comments:

Post a Comment