Red Herring Of The Day: Social Media Are Like A Train Station

The starring role of social media services like Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger in the recent riots in England has been much-debated: today’s hot potato came from Prime Minister David Cameron, who is exploring whether authorities should be able to close down such sites when people are known to be using them to plot “violence, disorder or criminality.” The suggestion caused an uproar — predictably — on Twitter itself.

One high-profile defender? The Conservative MP Louise Mensch — she of the hardline stance on the News International hacking scandal — who issued a tirade of remarks essentially asking: so what’s the big fuss in closing a social network down for a while?

Below are Mensch’s tweets in one continuous stream, but it should be pointed out they were delivered while she also sparred with others, a few who agreed and some who took issue with her position:








Putting to one side the misleading idea of comparing communication networks to transportation networks — or even more accurately transportation hubs — the responses after the tirade have gone a bit viral and have continued the criticism of her position. Two examples that highlight two of the biggest points of contention — free speech; and why it is that in looking for something to blame, one should not shoot the (BB) Messenger: