I could only stay about forty five minutes at the second event on Thursday 26th March. An informal, social event organised by Slugger O’Toole at the Hudson Bar in Belfast City Centre.
To be honest, forty five minutes is the limit of my comfort zone with my fellow Bloggers. So I was actually glad I had somewhere else to be.
When I left, Basil McCrea MLA (NI21) and Máirtín Ó Muilleoir MLA (Sinn Féin) had just arrived and joined some NI21 members and Slugger regulars. Let me emphasise that I am not anti-social but rather I think its better for a Blogger to be at arms-length from the rest of the Blogging community.
It is an odd thing. This Blog is actually quite successful. But the problem with being successful is that I get sucked into the small world of Norn Iron bloggers and politicians. Almost all of the people I encounter are decent people…Chris Lyttle MLA (Alliance) and Chistopher Stalford (DUP) for example. I even like Máirtín Ó Muilleoir MLA (Sinn Féin). Academics like Dr Gladys Ganiel and Professor John Brewer are patently decent. Journalists like Alex Kane.
I find it harder to engage with people I like than people I dont like. Thankfully there are a lot of Norn Iron politicians and wannabee politicians who are impossible to like. I just hope I never meet them.
Yet I think my aversion to such socialising runs deeper than “personality”.
David McCann promoting the event on the Slugger O’Toole message board…describes it as an event for POLITICOS.
The question must be asked. What is a POLITICO? And is it flattering to be called a POLITICO?
As far as I can make out…a POLITICO is someone who expresses an interest in Politics but doesnt actually DO anything. A political anorak. A nerd.
It seems unflattering. Rather like Leonard, Sheldon and Rajesh wearing Star Trek uniforms at Comic Con. But then Howard did actually go into Space. So the Slugger event is essentially Comic Con for political nerds. While the highlight of the Slugger event was to be a “tweet up” during the David Cameron and Ed Miliband TV non-debate…people really interested in Politics were knocking doors on behalf of SDLP, DUP, UUP, Sinn Féin, Green, Alliance and TUV…and actually doing the nitty gritty of Politics such as preparing a case for a Tribunal on Housing Benefit.
So the Slugger event was at best a “get together” for people with a similar interests. Or at worst it was Fantasy Politics. Rather like teenagers like a “kill or be killed” computer game but would run a mile from being drafted to a real war in Syria. Rather like teenagers play “football” computer games like FIFA 2015 but get their mothers to write notes to a teacher to excuse them from Gym Class.
So really the Slugger Tweet-Up is little or nothing to do with real Real Politics.
As I have often said, the Norn Iron Blogging World is essentially a Belfast suburban world. The Metro-Textuals inside the “beltway” could not find their way beyond Lisburn, Glengormley, Helens Bay and Shaw’s Bridge without a very expensive Sat Nav.
In effect, Slugger O’Toole reflects this. The Slugger “agenda” is really just the extension of the Metro-Textual mindset.
DEFINITION (from Google): “A tweet-up is an event where people who Twitter come together to meet in person. Normally we connect with our friends online after we have met them. At a tweet-up you meet the people you might only otherwise know virtually.”
That’s interesting. Up to now i thought it was like a booze-up only where people tweet.
Can I ask: do people sit around and tweet at a Slugger tweet-up? Or is the point that you don’t tweet but instead you talk?
I was only there for about 45 minutes before it got under way. But probably it does.
The NICVA event had a lot of people tweeting but a lot were the “big fish” or NICVA staff.
They seemed to be keeping the momentum going.
I agree that the whole social media thing is vastly overrated in the political context. Twitter infamously tried to present the Egyptian version of the Arab Spring as the “first social media inspired revolution” and got away with that for a long time until wiser journalistic heads gave the claim a good grilling and found it be seriously OTT. Twitter, etc. played a part but only as much as pamphleteering or leafleting did in the pre-internet era of revolutions and periods of social unrest. It was symptom of the coming unrest, much like the “mosquito press” in Ireland during the early 1900s, but it alone didn’t cause the unrest.
Islamic State is a good example of the internet as a working tool, to disseminate information/propaganda, and to serve as a (sometimes) secure method of communication. However it still takes people on the ground to recruit other people and channel them where they are needed to go. Given that IS has managed to recruit less than two or three hundred “Western” recruits from the hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of European, North American and Australasian Muslims who have been exposed to IS propaganda the “power” of the internet remains mostly metrotextual waffle.
Id go back further than the Arab Spring.
The hype and misinformation about the Baghdad Blogger led a lot of people into Blogging…the whole “citizen journalist” thing was in part encouraged by the Media until they saw the recklessness of online activity.
Now the Mainstream Media is against Social Media while attempting to harnessing it.
I have always been skeptical. The title “Keeping An Eye On The Czar of Russia” is accurate in displaying an elderly gent typing at a keyboard at 2am.
Few really succeed. The scariest part of Blogging is realising that people actually read what I write.
But there is a pyramid. Whether its The Huffington Post, Guido Fawkes or locally Slugger O’Toole there are market leaders anxious to protect their position.