Internet, I think we should have a chat over coffee
THE internet has broken my heart in the past fortnight.
We had such a great relationship. She was funny, knowledgeable, sexually adventurous. She let me hang out with my friends whenever I wanted and bought me DVDs.
It took time, but it turns out she’s one of those crazy chicks and two of her most exciting attributes - WikiLeaks and Twitter - have gone south. Honeymoon over.
The first sign of trouble was whistleblower website WikiLeaks deciding to post tens of thousands of classified US military documents online. They contained detailed operational data that named and gave the GPS co-ordinates of hundreds of Afghan informants - essentially giving the Taliban a ready-made hit list of double-agents.
Since the leak, at least one Afghan village elder has been assassinated for helping the US. Threatening letters have also been delivered to 70 tribal elders, and a US senator has called for the suspected leaker, 22-year-old army private Bradley Manning, to be sentenced to death.
I championed WikiLeaks as journalistic geniuses when they released a video earlier this year showing US soldiers recklessly gunning down civilians and journalists because, as Lisa Simpson says: “Who polices the police?’’ (Homer: “I dunno . . . Coast Guard?’‘)
But now the site has blood on its hands. Did you know WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was born in Townsville? Yup - America’s public enemy No.1 is a Queenslander (he also spent a chunk of his childhood near Roma), so the internet cheated on me with one of my own.
If I was smarter, I would now start talking about the philosophy of pure freedom of speech versus the role of considered editorial discretion.
Thankfully I’m not smarter, so you’re spared.
Then came our Twitter spat.
A few weeks ago, I got a bit excited and wrote a blog about how social media, specifically Twitter, would dominate the election campaign. There was so much promise. It was huge during the British and US elections - hell, Barack Obama used Twitter to announce Joe Biden as his running mate.
But in Australia, Twitter has been a dud. As The Australian newspaper said yesterday: ``So far both party leaders seem far more interested in interacting through the traditional means of TV and radio interviews, press conferences, shopping centre visits . . .’‘
Screw Gen Y and the 1.2 million Australians who use Twitter (Tony Abbott hasn’t tweeted since the day the election was called).
Without an influence on politics, Twitter is just another forum for celebrities to embarrass themselves.
It’s a tale of woe but I have the upper hand. (It’s called the off switch.)
We’ll see if the internet comes crawling back.
Alex Dickinson is a Courier-Mail journalist.
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