Social media is both the bane and the boon of the internet. A lot of the time, it gets (rightly) blamed for some of the nastiest instances of abuse and chaos around.
There are plenty of explanations as to why people do this, and not all of them can be applied to every situation. Stupidity is a big one, but it can’t be applied to most trolls – they put an almost absurd amount of time and effort into what they’re doing. And much as the Westboro Baptist Church are a bunch of horrifying troglodytes who should be beaten with bags full of walnuts, you can’t necessarily accuse them of being unintelligent – just incredibly nasty.
Similarly you can’t just blame anonymity, because people do stupid shit when they aren’t anonymous as well.
I’ve pretty much sworn off looking at comments on gaming sites, although my guilty pleasure of any given day is the following sequence of clickthroughs: BBC news->Have Your Say->All Comments->Lowest rated.
Honest to god, its like watching a car crash in slow motion.
But every so often, you hear stories from the internet that just make you smile.
and one of my favourites is “Get The Ashes to The Ashes.”
I’m a cricket fan, which means at the moment I’m almost constantly glued to the BBC live scorecard for the first ashes test. The last series, however, took place in Australia at the end of 2010 and start of 2011.
And in America, a girl named Ashley Kerekes started getting notifications on her phone. And thats because Ashley had based her twitter name of her nickname. Her twitter account was @theashes.
I’m sure you can see how this was going to get awkward.
Now, to me, the initial part of the story – Ashley getting thousands of twitter messages – isn’t that interesting. Even her now legendary tweet of “I’M NOT A FREAKING CRICKET MATCH!” doesn’t entertain me that much.
What makes me smile is when the hashtag #gettheashestotheashes started springing up.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit cricket fans are an odd lot. You kind of have to be to watch a test match for five consecutive days. So, to be honest, it doesn’t really surprise me that cricket supporters on both sides suddenly decided it would be hilarious to get a random girl from the states out to Australia to watch the fifth test match.
#gettheashestotheashes started trending, and eventually it caught the attention of Australian airline Qantas. Before she knew it, Ashley – now officially in the region of celebrityhood among cricket fans – was being winged to Sydney to experience her first cricket match. After an interview with the crew of Test Match Special, Ashley settled down to watch her first cricket match, and is now a regular commenter on the sport in the twittersphere!
It’s a rather silly, rather eccentric story, but it makes me smile. And it certainly makes me wonder how much nicer the world could be if the internet had a few more stories like this, and a few less like the others.