Two things have happened over the weekend which make me question if Twitter and social media are a good innovation for society. I guess I am late to the party but it really does seem that the relative distance of a keyword and screen turn some people into animals with a pack mentality. Indeed I am finding those old enough to be my parent act more like my children.

The Glenlivet have teamed up with a company which makes edible containers from seaweed and used them as a central part of an advertising campaign in London using bespoke cocktails as the liquid. This sent some people into meltdown and any reasonable response was attacked with paranoid gusto. Totally mental responses from actual adults in my opinion. This was an example based around the subject matter of this blog however there has been a second example this morning related to my occupation.

Jon Skeet is a well known computer programmer working for Google and spending an insane amount of hours on Stack Overflow helping software engineers all over the world with their programming issues. He is a passionate and colourful character who genuinely loves the community and indeed the .NET framework he writes books for.

Only for some guy on YouTube looking for clicks to fund his new career to pan his book in the most explicit and ignorant way. I can only imagine the amount of hours it took to write the book so viciously attacked by some guy behind a desk and sitting on a chair made to look like a race car seat.

That is before you even consider the time and effort required to be taken seriously by a publisher to write a textbox like those written by Mr Skeet. To be an industry expert so widely recognised is a major achievement in its own right. Only for a full grown adult to call you out as knowing nothing about software development while also mentioning he has never heard of you. Not that everyone working in software development should know who he is but at least research your script before vomiting bile all over those unlucky enough to watch your video.

All this brings me to thinking about the whisky reviewing community. I think increasingly blogs are becoming more extreme to get noticed. We seem to increasingly see swearing and attacks on expressions, producers and their corporate owners without taking a second to think of the people who are behind these products. The people who make the business decisions, make the products and market the products are people with families just looking to make enough money to survive and thrive just like the rest of us.

I can’t imagine ever being happy to see some no mark on the internet making ignorant comments on a project I spent a year of my life on. To see whisky I distilled or an expression I blended being called out for being crap or shit. People are welcome to come to my desk and pass judgement on my code but they better be prepared for my reaction and by being mean on the internet we refuse the other side a reply.

So this is my pledge to be less hurtful in my future posts. I don’t think I did it much before now but I think its important to call out the issue. Hopefully we can all have it closer to the forefront of our minds when we go to write our next article.

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