The importance of context (even on Twitter)

I’m not having a go at anybody in particular here, but making a point.

I tweeted what I thought was an amusing comment from someone I don’t always find myself in thorough agreement with, Roads Minister Tim Pallas:

Tim Pallas’s pledge: “I will never, ever, wear lycra in public.” http://j.mp/9Z9zlB #vicvotesdanielbowen

A couple of people re-tweeted it, with this one adding a comment.

RT… @danielbowen Tim Pallas: “I will never, ever, wear lycra in public” http://j.mp/9Z9zlB #vicvotes WTF is wrong with Lycra?! FO Tim

You know, I think before you blast someone’s comment (apart from the fact that it was clearly meant to be taken in jest), you might want to read the context by following the link provided. Here’s the full paragraph:

While some people look good in lycra, It is perhaps appropriate here that I reiterate my pledge to the Victorian people that I will never, ever, wear lycra in public.

So in fact Pallas didn’t say anything was wrong with lycra. He just made a funny, self-deprecating comment that he shouldn’t wear it.

Foolishly I decided to point this out to the Tweeter:

Maybe you should read the full quote?

…and got this response back:

I did and the issue isn’t even worth answering. It just gives credence to the doped on the other side.

Does that actually make any sense? I’m seeing words there, but I can’t comprehend the meaning.

I didn’t bother taking it any further.

But my point is that while I love using Twitter, the brevity of messages shouldn’t be an excuse for wilfully ignoring context, nor blasting away with both barrels when you make an assumption as a result of that lack of context, particularly when the link to all the information is merely a click away.

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5 Replies to “The importance of context (even on Twitter)”

  1. Daniel
    unfortunately, people can take things the wrong way. I guess a Twitter message is so brief that “context” is difficult.
    PS You are a funny bugger, so keep amusing us!

  2. But it’s true.

    [rant]The “Lycra Brigade” as I call them take themselves far to seriously. I ride every now and again and have even ridden to work on occasion (mostly along the river from Hawthorn), but I don’t tear along hell for leather. The Lycra Brigade will mercilessly rip past you as fast as they possibly can screaming “PASSING!” like I’m some kind of idiot who’s likely to swerve to the right of the cycle path for no apparent reason. They basically treat people who dont choose to wear lycra like idiot amateurs.

    Of course most of the people who choose to wear lycra are in their mid to late 40’s/early 50’s and are terrified of developing middle age spread ;)

    You regularly see a bunch of them taking over tables of the cafes on Degraves street and parking there bikes all over the place.

    I love cycling but some of these people are truly scary. They don’t own the road just as cars don’t, but sometimes they act like they do.

    I bet you any money it was one of these moron’s who responded to your Tweet Daniel. I think in the process of cramming their “junk” into lycra each day they may have lost some of their sense of humour.[/end rant]

    Sorry to hijack your blog comments Daniel ;)

  3. Nathan
    Passion is normally a good thing. Obsession is usually a bad thing. The group you are observing are in the latter!

  4. “WTF is wrong with Lycra!?”
    uummm, ok…

    “… credence to the doped on the other side…” ?
    riiiiight…

    Just shows, some people aren’t afraid to let their arrogance and stupidity shine through, to the everlasting amusement and joy of the rest of us.

    Ride on, oh arrogant one, ride on!

    (For the record… I don’t ride a bike, but I do run every day. But NEVER in Lycra.)

    (and don’t get me started on d!cks on bikes vs runners/joggers/walkers/…. damn, is MY arrogance showing now?)

    meh, better late than never.

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