I’m not sure how I feel about the #IamSpartacus campaign on Twitter.
On the one hand, freedom of speech is important, but on the other hand, threatening to blow up an airport – how stupid can you be? I don’t actually think it’s about Twitter, really, either. I know the campaigners believe that Twitter is being singled out, and this is some kind of blow for free speech on the Internet, but I’m sorry, I don’t. If anything, this shows that Twitter is just like any other kind of speech, and there are some things you should think twice about saying.
Like threatening to blow up an airport.
In his defense, Gareth Compton has called Twitter a “a forum for glib comment” and asked “Who could possibly think it was serious?” Except that plenty of the stuff on Twitter is serious, and should be taken seriously. The irony of a campaign on Twitter to defend the frivolity of tweeting cannot be lost on everyone, surely.
Going back to the original tweet, from Paul Chambers, I find it hard to be sympathetic. I mean, come on. Yes, we know security is ridiculous, yes we know the police overreact, so why the hell would you provoke them by posting something like that? And really, if you want to campaign to protest the expansion of police powers and the erosion of civil liberty in the name of the “war on terror” (and I sure as hell do) you could do far better than defending some tosser who was pissed at an airport for being closed by weather.
How about campaigning for the rights of the more than 100 000 people stopped by the police under stop and search laws last year? Of whom only 504 were arrested, and none of them for terrorism-related offences, which is what the stop and search law was created to prevent. How about walking into every police station inteh country, ringing the little bell, and saying “I am Spartacus”. If nothing else, it would be a lot more interesting to see than thousands of tweets threatening to blow up airports.