Social media turns everybody into wankers.
It's as simple as that. As soon as anybody gets involved in social media, they immediately turn into hopeless, irretrievable dickheads. They lose about 50 IQ points, and begin delivering the most ill considered and moronic opinions.
I can give you some examples from my current favourite social network, Twitter:
Duncan Bannatyne famously called another user a (sic) "pheadophile" for daring to suggest that smoking in one's car with one's children in it isn't the worst crime known to man. This is an intelligent, successful man. Something's gone wrong in his brain there. Surely?
And what about Tory councillor Gareth Compton who posted:
"Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really."
Honestly. What a wanker.
Or Paul Chambers
"Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!"
Blowing up the airport isn't going to help your flight to leave on time, is it, you dozy twat?
And then there's me. Earlier today, one of my Twitter followers asked me for advice on how to stop his son picking at his skin all the time.
I suggested that his son take up smoking.
I am a dickhead. It's right there in black and white on Twitter if you need the evidence.
But. Has any of the above really done anybody any harm? There might be one or two bruised egos, or offended Twitter friends (sorry Adrian!) - but nobody actually died, right? Nobody got hurt? Sticks and stones, and all that.
We're currently looking at a whole bunch of prosecutions brought against other social media users who posted some really dumb shit on Facebook in response to the riots. In EVERY SINGLE CASE so far, nobody actually got hurt as a result of their stupid posts, and no crimes were committed as a result of those posts. In the majority of cases so far, it's pretty clear that the poster was making a bad joke.
So we're perhaps just looking at another collection of social media wankers who happened to stray into the firing line of a political hot potato.
But the point is: their conversation isn't any different to the content posted by 90% of the social media users out there. As a social media user, we see content like this, and we say to ourselves, "Oh, just another wanker like me".
And now the judicial system is weighing in on social media, and as soon as they've got involved, they've become wankers too. They've lost 50 IQ points, and started talking just as much bollocks as the rest of us.
So the obvious defence to anybody faced with a charge under the Serious Crimes Act or the Communications Act in the coming weeks is:
"Social media turned me into a wanker. And now it's turning you into a wanker as well. Your honour."