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ITV News at Ten Friday 7 December 2018

Do we all need to delete old tweets?

I was on ITV News at Ten on Friday, talking about Kevin Hart, The Oscars and social media.

Kevin Hart is an American comedian and actor who was all set to host next year’s Oscars when homophobic comments he’d tweeted in the past were resurfaced. Hart initially tried to hold on to his Academy Awards contract, but public pressure was too much. He was forced to apologise – and stepped down from hosting the Oscars on Friday.

I wasn’t asked to comment so much on the specific case as on the wider issue of historical tweets coming back to haunt us. The reporter wanted to know if we’re now living in a universe where no-one’s allowed to have an opinion on anything and all public figures must be squeaky clean.

Well – of course not. Life would be pretty boring if everyone was a cookie cutter copy of everyone else. And society isn’t well served by one-dimensional social media profiles which simply airbrush out what the people behind them are really thinking. Continue reading

10 questions

1. How relevant is Metcalfe’s Law to social networks?

2. If we apply modern neoevolutionary principles rather than C19th, deterministic ones, accidents and free will have an important part to play in social evolution. Does social media enable these and, if so, does social media therefore enable social evolution?

3. How instrumental is social media in creating less hierarchical organisations?

4. How are social tools changing our behaviour, if at all?

5. What is the long-term impact of the type of self-organisation identified by Clay Shirky in Here Comes Everybody? (We can blog on WordPress, customize our Myspace page, set up a community on Ning…)

6. Are we seeing a new type of hero emerge and, if so, what does that signify? Craig Newmark, Lauren Luke, Barack Obama and (our local hero in London) Lloyd Davis – all these people built businesses/ careers by building a community first.

7. As various factors (environmental, social, political) push for an end to the consumer age, does social media have a role to play in bringing other values to the fore (or does it simply accentuate consumerist values?!

8. How realistic is Jamais Cascio’s idea of the participatory panopticon – can we attempt to control surveillance through sousveillance? Does the Twitter/ Carter Ruck/ Trafigura episode prove we’ve turned a page, or simply that the censors will pay more attention to Twitter next time round?

9. What do we think of the UK Conservative Party’s attempts to embrace the social web? David Cameron has talked about storing NHS records on Google, his advisor Steve Hilton (partner of Google’s Rachel Whetstone) has coined the phrase post-bureaucratic age, former New Labour new media advisors like MySociety’s Tom Steinberg have swapped sides…?

10. We could argue that the many-to-many structure of social networks enables a ‘long tail’ of human opinion to be heard. But can any diverse, ‘bottom-upness’ be sustained, or will it be back to ‘business as usual’ once the Web 2.0 dust has settled? Can the durable Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) ever truly be inversed?