A social media shaming. A killer with a message. A deadly combination. When the body of a man is left in the city centre set up as a realistic police crime scene, DI Hannah Robbins is forced to enter a world that can break a person, a case and a reputation. Social media platforms light up and Hannah is pitted against the raging online monster and a killer who has already lost everything. Can she catch the killer and put him behind bars or will she become part of his sadistic game?
I’m delighted to welcome author Rebecca Bradley to booksaremycwtches today with a fascinating guest post about the perils of social media.
Thank you Rebecca for taking the time to write such a wonderful guest post.
Hello, first of all I would like to thank Susan for having me on the blog today. I really appreciate it.
I want to talk about social media. That thing in our lives that without realising it, we are all a little addicted to. My latest novel, The Twisted Web looks at how social media can affect a person’s life and more specifically how online public shaming can ruin a person’s life even though all the behaviour happens online the effects can be felt very much in that person’s real life.
The inspiration for the story was Jon Ronson’s book, So, You’ve been publicly Shamed. It’s a non-fiction read that I would happily recommend to everyone who uses social media.
And in that vein, I thought I would talk today about the good and the bad I have myself experienced on the social media networks.
First let’s look at the bad so we can finish up on the good. We don’t want to end the post on a downer do we? As well as blogging I use Facebook and Twitter. On Facebook I am a member of several groups. Groups if you aren’t aware are where you gather with a specific purpose – to talk about books, to talk about Diabetes, to talk about dogs, etc. I was a member of a group specific to one of my own health needs. I had been a member for quite a while and though I didn’t post very much I was a healthy lurker, reading regularly to gain all the information I could. I would also respond to other people’s posts sometimes.
One day I thought I would try and be helpful and gave some information that I thought they might be interested in. Boy, was I wrong. Everyone piled in to tell me how wrong I was to have posted and how I was hurting people. Can you imagine how that feels? I was trying to be helpful, to what I saw as a supportive group, and I was being told that I was hurting people with what I had said. Everyone piled in and no matter if something had been said already they kept on repeating their point. It was relentless.
In the end I couldn’t take any more and left the group. I think since that point I have been very cautious about what I say online and can often be found deleting comments after I have written them in case I offend anyone. Online spats can very easily get out of hand because there is no body language or tone included. You can only read the words and words can easily be misconstrued. I remember hearing somewhere that when you’re talking to someone words make up only a small percentage of the communication – body language and intonation make up the rest and we don’t have that online.
I fared better on Twitter. Twitter was the place where I made real friends. People I am friends with now in real life. I’m not talking about the Twitter of now which is a seething mess of anger and retweets. I’m talking five plus years ago when people had conversations. They talked to each other a lot more. It serves more like a news channel nowadays, but back then it was a water cooler. We would gather to chat and chat we did. It was because of Twitter that I attended my first Harrogate crime writing festival and it was there I made friends and have continued to make friends. Twitter was a real place of social interaction. You can use it to meet people online who have the same interests (crime fiction) and it’s great for that. Just look at the book community and the crime writing community on there. They are thriving and kind and considerate.
It is Twitter that is the culprit in The Twisted Web. Twitter that destroys lives. This is because it is such a fast-paced beast. If an event occurs in the real world it is on Twitter and being spread within minutes. There is no stopping it or slowing it down. All you need is one tweet to start it off. If you have a few people saying the same thing then an avalanche can start. You see it time and again with many news items.
But… I do still like Twitter. It’s a little harder to use, to break through the noise, but people are still there and still talking.
Which is your favourite social media site and why? I’d love to hear from you.
About the author
Rebecca is the author of four novels in the DI Hannah Robbins series, Shallow Waters, Made to be Broken, Fighting Monsters and The Twisted Web as well as a standalone thriller, Dead Blind.
She lives with her family in the UK with their two Cockapoos Alfie and Lola, who keep Rebecca company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis.
After 16 years service, Rebecca was medically retired from the police where she finished as a detective constable on a specialist unit.
Rebecca now runs a consulting service where she supports crime writers in making sure their fiction is authentic so they can get on with telling a great story. You can find details of that HERE.