RIP the Australian sense of humour, murdered by Twitter.

OK, lets cut right to the chase on this one. Does anyone on twitter still have a sense of humour? Have we become so politically correct that our comedians will suddenly find themselves searching for other employment? Do we know the difference between fun and trolling, or is ‘funny’ now attacked if it remotely offends anyone?

Yup, I’ve pulled out the big guns on this one and I’m waiting to be shot down.

Here’s a wrap-up of some recent twitter action, with some ‘not so expert’ commentary by yours truly:

@EmRusciano tweeted “Will the world judge me harshly if I round house a kid to the head who just spilled my coffee? I am at jnr Aths. I’ve been up since 7am.”  to which someone told her off for even suggesting she abuse a child (that tweet has since been deleted). Em replied she wasn’t even being remotely serious, as if she’d ever really hit a kid because of a coffee spill.  – So, here the debate starts? Is it ok to turn child abuse into a comedy routine? Or do people just need to lighten up? I can understand Em’s desperation at losing her caffeine lifeline and don’t believe for a second it would have come to actual blows, but does the offended person have a point?

Next case: #fakemamamia This hashtag has sent twitter into a spin as people suggest fake article headlines for the mummy audience. Search and you’ll find such gems as “How to host a dinner party on the moon. What to wear and who to invite. We’ll make sure you’re not left in the dark.” – Is this a case of a gang of trolls attacking Mia Freedman or her internet empire? Is she sobbing in a corner somewhere? Or have Australians taking something from popular culture and taken the Mickey out of it (as they are prone to do). Does an Australian ‘she’ll be right’ attitude absolve people who post hurtful comments? Is this a case of tall poppy syndrome? Or were some of the suggestions genuinely funny?

And this post would not be complete without #ActivatedAlmonds, the tag that went wild after celeb chef Pete Evans divulged his day on a plate. Pete was not amused at the twitter world’s reaction which he understandably could have taken personally. A lot of people had a giggle at the concept of activating their almonds (or activating anything) and I learnt something that day. Yes, I was aware of chia seeds & quinoa, but activating my almonds? I actually think people were having more fun with the concept than they were personally attacking Pete.

But that’s the thing with twitter. There is no subtlety, no nuances, no body language or tone of voice. Would any of those soften the blow on a nasty comment? Absolutely not. But I think that the ‘ribbing’ that Australians do all the time just does not translate well to 140 characters. And all it takes is for one person to take offence and twitter is a bad world full of trolls. Yes there is some seriously nasty bullying stuff said on twitter, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes I think we do need to lighten up a little.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that online bullying or attacking should be laughed off. That’s a totally serious matter, just before you think I’m trying to tell everyone to just shrug off some of the vile messages directed at them.

But to end on a positive note, today I had a great, adult discussion with @DaltonCatering about fast food advertising & parenting choices. We had slightly different views on the topic and actually agreed on some stuff too, but we managed a civil discussion with limited words. This quick, passionate, respectful debate would never have happened if I hadn’t followed him on twitter and I’m glad to report it is possible to chat and keep your manners.

So, what do you think Australia? Am I being too light-hearted about a serious matter or do we need to laugh a little more?


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