Saturday 3 December 2016

Liz O’Donnell: Hate mail was a lot easier to ignore before social media

Published 02/01/2013 | 17:00

Call me old-fashioned but I still don't get the modern obsession with social media. I have never felt the need to communicate or be informed by Twitter. The lawyer in me recoils at the notion of random and unguarded mass communications. What is to be gained from such a scrappy, ill-considered dialogue? Increasingly there is evidence that it is capable of doing great harm to individuals.

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The use of Twitter in politics has become a hot topic of discussion. And for good reason, given the explosive potential for mischief-making and worse.

The next general election will be a real test not just for candidates desperately seeking re-election. Party colleagues in drastically redrawn constituencies, will become rivals like never before in the race for survival. All the indications are that protocols about the use of social media in elections need to be in place before then. Success in politics is intrinsically linked with reputation. In the heat of a six-week election campaign a slur or slight on character can be ruinous and irreparable in the short term.

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