Recent events have shown that people are becoming increasingly unclear about when they should be outraged about something they see on twitter or some other part of the internet. People say to me, “I saw a tweet about a thing I don’t really know much about. Should I be angry?” Well, here is a handy guide to help.
1. Have you seen the thing complained about?
One might think that having seen or read the thing you want to complain about would be a necessary precursor to complaining about it. But that’s not the case. Having no direct contact with the thing you are complaining about need not preclude you from being angry. In fact for being angry on social media it is often better not to have seen or read the thing complained about. It might have nuances that will negate the strength of your feelings of anger when reading a brief representation of it by someone else. Instead you need to ask
2. Is a celebrity angry about it?
if a celebrity is angry about a thing then you should be angry about it too. You can do this by retweeting the celebrity’s anger, or you can repeat the substantive content of the celebrity’s anger but omit any reference to them and pretend that it is your anger. Either approach is fine. If there is no celebrity angry about the thing that needn’t prevent you from being angry about it. Instead you merely have to apply a few quick and easy tests.
3. Is the thing being complained about by Jan Moir?
If it is then it is acceptable, in fact expected, that you will be angry.
4. Is the thing being complained about about a thing that politically you disagree with?
If yes, then you should be angry about the thing. If no, then you should complain that the people who are complaining about the thing are being hypocrites because they did not complain about a thing that you politically agree with the last time people were being angry about a thing. This allows you to ensure that you can be angry and outraged whatever view is being complained about.
In fact if you are an expert in being angry on twitter you can complain about people complaining about people complaining about a thing that they politically disagree with in order to ensure that the political position that you disagree with is reiterated in the general stream of bile.
5. Does it matter if the thing being complained about raises an issue of principle where you took a different view a previous time a thing was being complained about?
No. Maintaining consistent principles in support of people you agree with and disagree with is not expected when you are being angry on twitter. It is more important to apply the approach from your answers to questions 2 to 4 than to be consistent in general principles. On certain topics people expect everyone on twitter to be angry in order to generate some sort of news story. Don’t disappoint them.