After the furore over convicted pedophile Gary Glitter allegedly setting up a Twitter account to promote a ‘world tour’ and ‘new album’, it has now been proved – by the user behind the account itself – that OfficialGlitter was set up to make people aware of guidelines concerning the protection of children on the internet.
The ‘Gary Glitter’ page now shows the link to a Tumblr post that details the past two days events as a ‘social experiment’:
“I set this twitter account up as a social experiment to highlight the dangers and safety of children using the social networking sites and to discover and question public morality. It’s been an interesting and eye-opening experience for me…”
The anonymous user goes on to detail the messages and mentions that they received both condoning and condemning ‘Gary Glitter’ and his online presence:
“Apart from the thousands of negative and abusive comments I got whilst impersonating Glitter, it amazed me and deeply disturbed me to see a shocking amount of positive, encouraging and supportive comments that people were giving to a convicted child rapist. Almost 20,000 people “followed” me on Twitter and I received a huge amount of tweets…”
I have to say that – even though I was taken in – it does highlight a massive oversight in the flaws behind a certain lack of rules in social networking sites. Seeing the account sent a chill down my spine and the only way to combat that was to make jokes about it, which a lot of other people did. It is – perhaps – the British way of dealing with such matters.
Now that the experiment is done and dusted, this should only be a small step towards making an improvement in who can register to social networking sites and how they are ‘policed’, for want of a better word.
What was interesting was the surprising number of positive tweets and mentions that the disgraced singer actually got. They were numerous and abundant. It seems that a fair few people may be easily forgiving of someone’s past if they made a half-decent record in the past. On the one hand there is the argument of ‘forgiving and forgetting’, but the more rational conviction is that we cannot be blinded. Glitter is a very high profile criminal and it is the obvious fact that many registered sex offenders are not and will easily be under the radar, remaining undetected for an undetermined amount of time – possibly years.
My feeling is that this experiment was indeed an eye-opener, but let’s not let it end here. Perhaps more should be done to combat this than to combat the less dangerous endeavour of online piracy.