7th January 2013
Twitter provides a great platform for debate. Unfortunately, it can also bring out the worst in people when, bolstered by the anonymity their virtual identity affords them, their comments stray from respectful opinions and become very personal and, in some cases, downright nasty.
We saw a prime example of this last week, when popular TV presenter and mother Kirstie Allsopp took to Twitter to voice her disapproval of the NCT and its advice. Prompted to comment by a radio show featuring the organisation's chief executive, as well as author of Bumpology, Linda Geddes, she wrote: 'Turn to BBC Radio 4 for talk of a book about all the absurd myths surrounding pregnancy & birth. More NCT b******* as usual though.'
Kirstie went on to say that the NCT 'is a very politicised, dogmatic, and in my experience scary organisation'.
With these posts Kirstie, who has more than 270,000 Twitter followers, sparked a flurry of tweets; some in agreement (many of which Kirstie was quick to repost), some in furious disagreement. Those who deigned to defend the NCT and its values then became the subject of viscious abuse from Kirstie's fans and followers, thus demonstrating the darker side of this type of networking site.
Kirstie does go on to acknowledge that some people have had very positive experiences with NCT classes, but with the somewhat aggressive delivery of her viewpoint in the first instance, she opened the proverbial floodgates. And, as she later tweeted, she has no intention of backing down: '2yrs ago I backed away from debate with NCT staff, this time I shan't. Some classes aren't up to scratch, though the Org. is well meaning.'
There's a marked difference in the tone of Kirstie's tweets since the original, damning one she posted that caused such a stir, but still she seems set on imposing her opinion about the NCT on all her followers.
It's funny that, having accused the charity of being 'dogmatic', she goes on to post selected 'facts' that conveniently back up her own argument on Twitter, such as: '1 in 40 Mums give birth at home. 1 in 10 Mums suffer from PND. Guess which topic gets most space on NCT website?'
The dictionary definition of 'dogmatic' reads: 'asserting opinions in a doctrinaire or arrogant manner; opinionated.'