Twitter outrage guidelines

Yesterday the Mail website decided to run a story that even by its own very low standards was a shockingly insensitive and crude political attack. The Daily Mail is not afraid to use any excuse to attack public sector strikes and yesterday decided that the awful accidental death of a 13-year-old girl was the perfect chance to continue this attack. As reported by The Media Blog:

Daily Mail sinks to a new low

As The Media Blog comments:

[this] is surely a leap too far even for the Daily Mail, given it not only insults any notion of logic but also, more worryingly trivialises the death of a young girl for cheap political point scoring

What is becoming increasingly apparent each time a new Twitter storm arises from something the Daily Mail publishes online: nothing is a leap to far for the Daily Mail. The continued rise of the Daily Mail as becoming one of the largest ‘news’ websites in the world in terms of traffic does receive significant help from outraged individuals sharing such stories via social networking sites. This can be avoided quite easily if the following guidelines are followed:

  1. Never link to the Daily Mail website – instead use istyosty.com, copy the URL of the offending Daily Mail article into istyosty.com and it will store a cached version of the webpage for people to visit which means that the Daily Mail gets no additional visitors.
  2. Before clicking or sharing / retweeting a link, hover your mouse over it. If it is going to take you to the Mail website do not click it (unless to create an istyosty.com link). Tell the person sharing the link to stop linking to the Mail, tell them about istyosty.com or refer them to this page.
  3. Check to see if any bloggers have already covered the story. It is far better to link to link to a good blog on the subject because if the link is shared enough then that page can challenge the Mail article when it comes to Google searches for the given subject. Furthermore, this rewards the blogger for writing about the Mail and gives them some extra traffic which might help spread the message that the Mail is awful most of the time, not just on the isolated occasions when Twitter takes up a particular case.
  4. Don’t be afraid to share other links during the periods when Mail outrage is trending on Twitter. Use this as an opportunity to spread the word about good media bloggin sites who do deal with the really nasty narratives that are so often ignored on Twitter because they perhaps don’t fit into the narrow ‘outrage space’ that seems to be present in the minds of some Twitter users.
  5. Do share a link to the PCC if you feel that the article can be complained about legitimately. The more occasions the PCC in inundated with genuine, serious complaints the harder it will be for the media to continually justify self-regulation.

The Daily Mail article that was doing the rounds yesterday [istyosty.com link] no doubt generated a lot of traffic for the Mail website (it attracted 432 comments – a lot of them highly critical of the Mail’s angle) and eventually the Mail updated the headline of the article to remove the ‘because’ which directly attempted to blame striking teachers for the girl’s death and they remove a supposed Tweet that someone made blaming teachers for the death (people searching for it on Twitter couldn’t find this Tweet). However, the article still contains image captions which make the link between the death and the teacher’s strike even though the grieving family have been forced to issue a statement making it clear to the press that:

Our beloved daughter’s death was a tragic incident, which occurred only 24 hours ago, and we do not want it to be connected to any other events.

‘We politely ask that our privacy be respected at this time and we will not be issuing anything further.

This family have just lost their 13-year-old daughter as she innocently sat under the shade of a tree. As they attempt to deal with such a horrible sudden shock they learn that their daughter’s death had already been used by a national newspaper as a way to attack the teacher’s strike. How must they have felt? How could they even begin to understand how the Mail could print this?

As usual the absolute cowards working at the Mail gifted the byline to the ‘Daily Mail Reporter’ and the utterly supine Press Complaints Commission watch on, powerless to do a single thing about it.

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