When three tribes go to war, all the people you ignore

By Joe Mellor, In house Reporter 

Social Media Ship


The police are after the press, the press after the politicians and the press are after police. In this triangle of hate, they are all at each other’s throats.

So where does that leave the rest of the public?

Well this is a poor analogy, but stay with me. Imagine three ship captains arguing over who should take the helm, ignoring the passengers falling overboard, waving manically, as the vessel sails into the distance.

And there is no end in sight between these squabbling entities.

Now the editor of the Guardian is to be questioned by MPs about his newspaper’s publication of intelligence files leaked by the American whistleblower Edward Snowden.

But while the three pillars of power argue amongst themselves, everyone else is getting on with their lives.

Perhaps the leaders of society are not as important as they think they are, especially in the digital age.

Everyone has that person at work who thinks their job is soooo important, but when they go on holiday the office runs fine, maybe even better.

It is tacitly accepted that there are bent coppers, some journalists are underhanded and politicians are well…politicians.

Does the public need another “scalp” by one of these three competing forces?

Of course some their practices need to be investigated (Milly Dowler’s phone tampering instantly springs to mind) but it feels like these are battles for their own sake, not for the public good.

They are settling old scores, hoping to nudge ahead of their perceived rival.

While this power struggle continues, citizens back on terra firma – especially the young and tech savvy – are circumventing mainstream politics, communication and press channels.

“Have your plebgate, it’s a load of rubbish anyway.”

This explains why even though youth unemployment (as of Aug 2013), was 958,000, a rate of 21 per cent,  there is not anarchy in the streets.

For a start, technology is so cheap it is not worth stealing, cutting down thefts, and online crime is rarely recorded.

Additionally, by utilising new media platforms, you can feel part of a community, maybe not what we would traditionally think of as society, but something to belong to.

Even if it is uploading footage of a fight in a pub car park, (or a Russian nailing his crown Roubles to the ground) literally millions of people could view your video.

You feel part of something bigger than your street, your postcode or even your country.

What that something is, is probably the more pertinent question.

Perhaps it is a cyber-society. Or is this iNarchy?

But is it dangerous, if there is a drift between the two stratum of society? Well maybe not.

Traditional methods of earning money are rapidly eroding away (the public sector, for example) but you could be paid for advertising on the video of the pub car park fight you recorded.

Not exactly bio-chemistry, but an income is an income.

Are these the young entrepreneurs of the future Cameron was talking about?

Probably not, but they won’t be a burden on the welfare state…as long as they declare their income.

In light of this, Russell Brand’s recent attack on the democratic system made some interesting points, but he failed to say that the public (especially young people) are not giving up on politics, they are just creating their own version of society.

There are also a variety of the traditional grassroots online communities sprouting up; pressure groups that actually get things done.

From Peers.org which supports a sharing economy at one end of the spectrum, to the extreme end of the spectrum, the Letzgo Hunting Paedophile chasing group or the Anonymous “hacktivist” site at the other.

Whether you agree with the more extreme groups is beside the point, they are confronting issues head on, themselves.

Individually you can even have a voice. Complain on Twitter about poor services or products and you might get a refund. Complain to your MP and you won’t get anything, they are too busy battling the BBC.

By the time the ships captains realise they are sailing on an empty vessel the passengers may have swam to safety and built a ship in their own image.

And it will be incomprehensible to the people who once steered them to safety.

Leave a Reply