Ellen is Max’s mother and she wrote an absolutely great post about interactions on Twitter where the word retard comes up with regrettable frequency. It’s very carefully reasoned, but nonetheless it kicked off predictably enormous howls of righteous indignation and it’s-my-freedom-of-speech/this-is-pc-gone-mad type recriminations. And some thoughtfully argued counterpoints too, plus some illuminated new viewpoints.
Anyway, I sent it on its way via my own Twitter account. For those of you who don’t know Twitter so well, it’s like a very slimmed down Facebook. For those of us who use it, it’s more like the crack cocaine to Facebook’s chicken soup, if you will. There are over 1,700 people following me on Twitter. Sizeable, but not enormous. Interestingly, what happened is that my message about Ellen’s post, once I’d set it on its way, was retweeted – or re-sent – by over a hundred other people. So alongside my potential 1,700 followers, all the followers of another 116 people would also have potentially seen this great piece about the use of the word retard. Twitter is a very powerful medium for this kind of message spread, and that’s one reason why I like it so much.
There is a site (again, for Twitter nerds like me) which maps the use of the R word in real time, and allows you to challenge the people using it. Not sure how much I’d use it myself, but it’s interesting to see the tools that are available now to promote positivity in this way. It’s called The Social Challenge.
Go check out Ellen’s post. It’s brave and rollercoastery and worth it.
Hi Nick! I don’t have a Twitter account, but I follow Ellen’s blog. Love it. Like you, she keeps it real. I think that her post about ending the use of the “R” word is great. It’s a reminder to all of us that it is important to think before we speak. Just ask Charlie Sheen…..
excellent. Had to R-check my sister during the visit home. “Please don’t use the R-Word..”
She inhaled as if to say “I didn’t mean it that way” but before the words came out I finished
“..Because it hurts the feelings of people I love”
Thanks to you – I find that argument defeats all. xx
Please head over to the blog “Our Eyes Opened” &read about Kirill, a little boy living in a Russian orphanage who has been denied his right to be adopted, simply because he has Down syndrome. The Davis family is looking for all of the support they can get as they attempt to appeal the judge’s decision. http://oureyesopened.blogspot.com/2011/03/kirills-story.html