Up until recently, the liberal Twitterati have been faced with a dilemma. By tweeting links of Daily Mail and Sun articles to their followers in order to engage in a collective two minute hate against the idiocy of the tabloid press (and their millions of gullible, easily manipulated readers), they end up sending traffic to the despised article and boosting the tabloid’s web traffic and potentially aiding its advertising revenue.
First off, ‘the Liberal Twitterati’. Who’s that then? I’m presuming Patrick means anyone that doesn’t like the bullshit the tabloids come out with. The dilemma, though, is a very real one not just for Twitterers, but for bloggers and anyone that shares links, like bloggers. Bloggers, or good bloggers, link to the source of their information they are sharing or the subject of their posts. This is so that the reader can either check the facts the blogger puts forward or see what the blogger is writing about so that the reader can go and make their own mind up, even if the content of the source is erm, not very savoury. This is something that newspaper websites very rarely do which enables them to put forward articles that can twist the truth or not tell the whole truth or take things out of context. What’s a blogger to do, eh? Link or not link? Let the reader decide for themselves the validity of their facts and opinions or behave like a tabloid?
It’s even argued that the Mail is intentionally using what’s termed ‘flame bait’ to lure liberals to its site, helping it get 10 million hits more than the Guardian’s website each month. This has led to some claiming they’d rather remain in the dark about the content of Daily Mail articles being discussed, because reading them online could make a small contribution to the Mail’s swelling coffers.
That argument about flame bait is not a hard argument to win.
The choice to remain in the dark and hope the Mail withered away is ok for some, but it obviously isn’t doing anything to diminish the Mail in anyway. Others, though, want to call out the lies and the spin and the abusiveness and so in steps the dilemma.
Now a solution has been found. IstyOsty allows you to link to a cached version of a Daily Mail article (alongside other tabloids) that doesn’t display advertising and won’t register as a hit on the website or appear on search engines. IstyOsty claims this process is ‘entirely legal’.
Yay, Istyosty! What a beautiful, elegant solution it is, too.
The website has also been an immediate hit among the Twitterati, who are beginning to childe one another if they link to the actual Daily Mail website. Times columnist Caitlin Moran, for example, was ticked off by TV presenter Lauren Laverne for giving them [the Daily Mail] the ‘click through’ to an article, prompting Moran to respond: ‘Must. Remember. @istyosty.’
I’m presuming Patrick means ‘chide’ as in to scold or express disapproval, as opposed to ‘childe’ which is a disused term for a child of noble birth, and quite right too. I would hardly say it has been an immediate hit, though (no offence Istyosty). I regularly see bloggers and Twitterers not using it, including ones I presume Patrick would include as a Twitterati, like media bloggers. But then how do I know, I have never seen Istyostys’ stats.
When a Twitch Hunt began against Melanie Phillips on Monday for a Mail article she’d penned attacking the BBC, IstyOsty links were widely used with Twitter users imploring others to deprive the ‘Daily Fail’ of ad revenue. As one Tweet said: ‘Dear Twitter, If Melanie Phillips must be linked to, please could it be through the @istyosty safe link? http://is.gd/fQplZD Thanks. :)’ Another suggested, ‘someone needs to design a WW2-style poster reminding people to use istyosty & not direct-link to the Mail.’
Did you read that Phillips article? No? Well, Angry Mob tears it to pieces as it is a proper piece of WTF-ery, and yes, he links to it via istyosty, so I’m guessing he is a Twitterati too.
If you’re going to say that tweeters are scolding each other for not using Istyosty links, the example Patrick gives is a pretty weak one: ‘Dear Twitter’; ‘Please could’; ‘Thanks’. Ooh! Scary. That’s a serious telling off that is.
The embracing of IstyOsty on Twitter reveals much about the mindset of the liberals that use it. As one Twitterer put it, ‘may I commend istyosty to you? A proxy that enables us to point furiously at evil papers without them getting page hits.’
Yeah, great. Someone’s a bit sarcastic but they’ve hit the nail on the head.
At first glance, you might think that the IstyOsty strategy is for the ‘evil’ Daily Mail website and the like to be starved of advertising revenue and being forced to wither away. It would also be understandable to think that in the eyes IstyOsty enthusiasts, the world would be a better place if the Mail and other ‘nasty’ papers ceased to exist and everyone was forced to read the Guardian by default. (Tellingly a request on its website that IstyOsty also covers the Guardian has so far gone unanswered).
I have no idea what Istyostys’ strategy is. You’d have to ask him (he’s @istyosty, if you couldn’t guess). I think it would be a shame if the Mail and the Sun disappeared. Most people don’t want that. Most people realise that a plethora of opinion in the media is A Good Thing, they just want All. The. Bullshit. to stop. There’s nothing wrong with saying that Britain is going to be over run with foreigners in ten years time, or that eating 0.5grams of cheese a week raised your chances of cancer by 35 times or whatever, as long as it is true, or the studies actually suggest it. If you’re gonna write bullshit, or a spiteful column about someone less than a week after their death, then people are gonna call you on it.
But, here’s the rub: In such a world, who would liberals have to ‘point furiously’ at? Their lives would become dull and empty if there weren’t columnists like Melanie Phillips to Twitch Hunt. Even IstyOsty recognises that the Mail plays an important service in allowing liberal Guardian-reading types to feel smug by ‘point[ing] out how ignorant they are’.
Yeah, yeah. Nice one. People are all one dimensional and don’t have other shit to be getting on with except to be outraged by what ever the right wing press are saying. That is so humourous, oh, hang on. That’s not link bait I’ve fallen for is it? Damn.
And what’s wrong with pointing out how ignorant someone is when they’re spewing bile and bullshit?
Of course, their finger-pointing doesn’t just stop at the ‘ignorance’ of writers such as ‘Mad Mel’, Jan Moir and colleagues. It’s also, by extension, aimed at the Mail’s 4.7 million readers. The brainwashed, ill-educated, Beta minus drones who inhabit Middle England and read papers such as the Mail not to feel superior, but to actually get news.
Yes, fingers get pointed at the Mail. Why shouldn’t someone be called out when they’re being ignorant and spewing bullshit? The ‘brainwashed, ill-educated, beta minus drones’ are not a big part of the mails readership though.
As you can see in the screen shot from the Newspaper Marketing Agency…
A upper middle class Higher managerial, administrative or professional
B middle class Intermediate managerial, administrative or professional
C1 lower middle class Supervisory or clerical and junior managerial, administrative or professional
C2 skilled working class Skilled manual workers
D working class Semi and unskilled manual workers
E Those at the lowest levels of subsistence Casual or lowest grade workers, pensioners and others who depend on the welfare state for their income
The column on the right is percent of readers.)
As you can see, the Mails readership isn’t really the ill-educated, supposedly easily led, or beta minus folk, is it? And is it news if it’s not actually true, or presented truthfully? No, it’s bullshit.
When, for example, IstyOsty says those who advertise in the Mail are ‘companies who should know better’, it is implicitly saying that companies shouldn’t be spending their cash trying to raise awareness of their products among the poor thickies that read it.
But the vast majority aren’t ‘poor thickies’, are they? The companies should know better. They should know better than to associate themselves and help pay for the poisonous, divisive, hateful output of these papers.
IstyOsty, realistically, is unlikely to make much of dent to the massive number of hits the Daily Mail gets each month. Even if the whole of Islington, Hackney, Haringey and the small handful of other liberal bastions (i.e. the places that voted ‘Yes’ in the AV referendum), decided to switch to IstyOsty en masse. It’s more a way the chattering classes can ensure that the continued success of these ‘evil’ publications is not done in their name. As well as being a convenient way to differentiate themselves from the dunderheaded tabloid-reading masses.
Using an IstyOsty link is like a 21st century Twitter version of a Masonic handshake. It makes it clear you’re one of the Enlightened Ones and not one of them. On the flip side, however, it is an remarkably accurate identifier of members of the contemptuous, intolerant, masses-hating, clique of illiberal liberals who are – worryingly – becoming increasingly influential in shaping British political life today.
That metaphor doesn’t quite work. The Masonic handshake is supposed to be secret. Istyosty works better the more people know of it and use it.
Oh, what a wit Patrick is. ‘Illiberal liberals’ ho ho. Masses hating, heh. Yeah, of course.