Friday, July 22, 2016


A regular bubble of simmering anger. The 24/7 world offers enough fodder and the world of Twitter reacts with predictability....the angst, the edge of menace, the self righteous, the genuine frustration...they all simmer together in a toxic cocktail creating an atmosphere which sometimes can become quite suffocating.

Every day there exists some reason for angst and this week has been no different. Forgetting even the ultra bizarre world of politics, the NHS itself has been fizzing with news. A new government, a reinstatement of Mr Hunt, Mr Massey as GMC top boss, scrapping of nursing bursary and of course the NHS "re-set". It's as if there is some design to make some people angry- and Twitter unfurls it with abandon. The tone becomes harsher, insults become sharper, friends turn into enemies and the space for any rational debate shrinks even further. Once upon a time, George Bush was mocked for his "with me, or against me". Social media exists in that sphere nowadays. The world of absolutes. You either work with NHS England or you don't. You either like Corbyn or you don't. You either support the junior doctors or you don't. It's all pretty sharply black and white.

What it has done is simply driving some sensible or perhaps even adult conversation away. What many wouldn't dare to say face to face due to a degree of social etiquette is now passé. Once upon a time, Twitter used to be a milder place, actually a fun place, a place to learn, a place sometimes for support. That world still exists, albeit shrunk. It bristles with indignation, with anger...the lessons of the last General Election , Brexit has taught no one the lesson of the social media bubble. That shouting louder and feeling comforted by like minded people doesn't actually result in achievement of ones goal. We simply shout a bit louder...a bit more unhappy, a bit more angst.

Mute and block have been useful tools but as one can see the abuse thrown at people, you know social media is or has lost its innocence. What does one do... I have no idea..apart from perhaps folks building a thicker skin. It's just an observation...and its a purely personal one that the respectful and polite conversations seem to emanate more from patients within the diabetes community.  There are challenges, but they are more with a willingness to engage in debate, a desire to help improve things. I don't know why but health care professionals, as a proportion, seem more angry, less willing to engage, more dealing in absolutes- including me at various times.

I must live in a different bubble but it's no shame in saying that I have a great job. I do general medicine, I do specialty work, I have great colleagues and for whatever anyone says, a fantastic hospital too. I like to laugh at myself and I enjoy being on Twitter. I know life is tough for many and things need to change, improve etc but the whole argument of more money will solve it is a debate that needs to be had a bit more constructively than..."If you don't agree with it, I hate you".
If that's not possible, then at the very least, maybe make Twitter make a little less toxic - there are many who would like it to be a continued space of education and support.

Let's give that a try, if we can.

1 comment:

  1. You can't change their posts. Post what you feel is appropriate to what you are trying to achieve, be aware of the impact of your choice of follows on Twitter and decide what you want to take from it. It's no different to Doctorsnet 10 years ago. Some will always use it as an arena to spark dissent or noise. Don't be drawn in particularly in your new role. You're doing fine so far.