During the week after the Frankie Boyle show, there were a few things that got to me, well probably more than that as I was a complete emotional wreck, but lets not go into all of that now I am finally back to normal and in a less emotional and vulnerable state.
I honestly could not believe how the blog took off, how quickly and widely word spread about the previous evenings events. As someone who has worked in online marketing for years, I should have known the power of social media, but I have never had something so personal to me take off in such a big way.
What I think I found most interesting though, was not the speed in which it spread, but the speed in which the original 'story' was misinterpreted, how key facts were changed and how actually most of the online discussion and probably face to face debates were not really about my blog, but about something different. Related, yes, but certainly different.
It was quickly assumed that I was an attention seeking daily mail reader, who had been ranting and raving about how offended I was. It was rare to see a comment on an article or blog that reminded people that my blog was purely written for cathartic reasons, and to tell my friends why my evening was so pants (thank you to those who did post comments like that - I really appreciated it!).
I never 'took on Frankie Boyle' nor did I demand any apology from him. I didnt ask for censorship, or for him to be banned. I merely wanted to tell my friends why I hadnt enjoyed my evening, and I had tried to just report the facts in my blog (the facts as I saw them anyway), rather than demanding anything, or shouting abuse back at Frankie Boyle.
And what was funny was that as word spread, and the chinese whispers continued, the stories and comments out there became more and more insane - my 5yr old daughter had Aids, I had taken her to the show with me, what bad parents we were. None of these stories upset me but it certainly made me think about the written word and whether you can actually really believe anything you read, especially on the Internet. (Based on this experience, erm, no you can't!)
Reminds me of the evening when Mika had a funny turn and posted some very random tweets (either playing silly buggers, or too much drink, or a sleeping pill too many) and within an hour or (during which twitter was full of panicking posts from Mika fans) it was being tweeted that he had died. Within just minutes his wikipedia page had been updated with news of his death. Madness!
What has also really surprised me is the awful inaccurate use of terminology that has been in the press. I know that there are some parents of children with Down syndrome who get very upset when incorrect terminology is used (ie Downs children instead of children with Down syndrome) but I have never really minded about things like that as long as the persons intentions were good, ie their heart was in the right place.
But I really have been surprised by how many of the articles and stories, in both printed press and online, have referred to victims, sufferers, illness etc. Surely the press have _some_ responsibility to check the accuracy of what they are printing/posting?
The DSA has an excellent article online http://www.downs-syndrome.org.uk/news-and-media/what-to-say--not-say.html which is well worth reading. I am involved with a Down syndrome support group, and every time we send out a press release we send this link out with it.
So here is a personal plea from me to any journalists and editors reading this - please take the time to read this through, think about the wording you use. As to be honest, using words like victims and sufferers can be as offensive to some as the jokes that Frankie Boyle was making in his show!
PS I know some of you are desperate for shoe posts as well as rants about this story that just doesnt seem to want to go away ;) so heres a link to a pair of beautiful sandals my lovely husband bought me yesterday http://shop.irregularchoice.com/womens/product/2904/ They should be arriving today, hope theyre as gorgeous in real life as they look online.