UPDATE: Paul Chambers appeal of his twitter conviction has been rejected
The Twitter joke trial is the clearest indication yet that the world is divided into two sorts of people at the moment. The people who “get it”, and the people who don’t.
The people who get it are those who are living in a world that the internet has created. A new world which would have been unimaginable as little as 15 years ago. Few predicted that this place of cat videos and porn would also allow ordinary people to create content, to engage in citizen journalism, to organise peaceful online protests that bring about actual change, or to do any of the other countless, enriching things that it has made possible.
The people who don’t get it are the people in charge. Politicians (for the most part), judges (for the most part), the policemen who came to Paul Chambers’ place of work and arrested him for posting a piece of frustrated, jokey hyperbole on Twitter. These are the people who, more than anyone, need to understand the modern world. And they simply don’t.
From what I understand, much of the Twitter joke trial has involved trying to communicate to judge and prosecution what Twitter actually is. And if they don’t understand it, then how can they be trusted to make proportionate, reasonable or just decisions about it?
This is the kind of case that would make me refuse jury service. It obliterates my confidence in the judicial system. Why should I let people who don’t “get it” have any power over me or anyone else?
We’re trying to evolve here, and the people who don’t get it are slowing us down. If they can’t keep up, they need to get out of the way.