The internet however, as Sky News has been reminded, is a bit of a swine. Readers in Scotland clocked what was going on and sounded the alarm on social media. Over the weekend Twitter and Facebook did what they do best, and folk all over Scotland rallied behind their favourite people. From their place of obscurity they quickly shot to the summit, with Scots voting in their tens of thousands and sharing the news to the furthest reaches of the internet. By Sunday afternoon supporters in Wales, across parts of England, and all over the island of Ireland were joining in.
When it comes to campaigning some fights are unavoidable, and it’s inevitable that we’ll gravitate towards others of a similar political outlook as ourselves. Cliques and factions in the movement are a natural consequence of being a movement so large. There’s not very much we can do about these fall outs, and so long as we are still working towards the same goal we can deal with the difficulties that arise as a result. But the other stuff is unnecessary and causes us more trouble than it’s worth.
Social media – now very much “the world of trolls” – offers us what real life simply cannot, the ability to be all-sufficient. It offers us the possibility to find meaning in our undeveloped and un-self-become humanity. Behind the fiction of a social media profile we can be the men and women we want to be; the person we desire most to present to the world, without ever affecting any real change in the person who we actually are in the real world. This I will call the 'avatar,' the fictive person we create online...
Right at the heart of Britain’s strategy to maintain its hold on Scotland is the effort by the state and its shills to convince the Scottish people that they are less intelligent – “too stupid” – than the decision makers in Westminster and Whitehall. Looking back over the past couple of hundred years we see that this psychological warfare has been an integral component in London’s domination of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. This so-called Gaelic fringe has been lavished with false praise.
Internet trolls – especially in the political sphere – have a number of functions. They are a distraction. Trolls will engage activists in petty arguments, and, of course, the activist, taking this as a teaching opportunity, will happily go down the rabbit hole. It’s pointless. No argument will convince them of the merits of independence. They don’t even have a vote. Most likely the person on the other side is in an office in Wolverhampton following the instructions pinned to their blue cubical wall.
A shark on the road is what it is. It’s a shark on a road. This is Ockham’s Razor 101. It didn’t happen. Yet it’s easy it grasp, it tickles the imagination, it allows us to be seen to be enraged or be one of the smarty pants who myth busted it. What it is, is bubble gum for the brain. But what we are missing is that this is precisely how the media – the “real” or “mainstream” media – has operated for decades. Now these techniques of mass anaesthesia are being used – thanks to the internet and social media – by people and organisations that have more sinister messages to spread than shark memes.
Of course what I had written was not read this way. It was deliberately misinterpreted because it was intended to be a hatchet job. Shortly thereafter this colourful reading of my work was picked up by Angry Salmond – now “Angry Scotland;” another group account closely associated with the Common Space set, and retweeted from its new parody account – jokingly digging at those of us outraged by Common Space’s recent antagonistic antics – “CommonWings.”