Twitter onstage: What’s the difference between a troll & a social justice warrior?

In Features, London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews, Ticket recommendations by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

As a Twitter geek, one of the things I enjoyed most about David Baddiel‘s latest one-man show My Family: Not the Sitcom, which is now enjoying its second West End run at the Playhouse Theatre after premiering last year at the Menier Chocolate Factory, is how he so successfully employs social media in his storytelling. (Inspired by him, also follow the links to see my own Top Ten most highly trolled tweets.)

As Baddiel makes clear himself, My Family is not about social media. (It’s about, as the title indicates, his family and more specifically his late mother’s openly conducted, extra-marital affair and his still-living father’s slide into a foul-mouthed dementia, and his conflicting feelings of grief.) But he uses social media to introduce us to some of the people discussed and to, expertly, turn a mirror on ourselves and society at large.

You don’t need to be a Twitter expert yourself to appreciate Baddiel’s analysis. As he flashes tweets up on the onstage screen, Baddiel explains in amusing lay terms the differences between technicalities such as RTs, likes and hashtags, as well as user types. A troll shares similarities with social justice warriors but their motivations are not the same – what they do have in common is that, in the social media world, outrage is a key badge of identity. Anger, says Baddiel, turns up the volume on who you are and, on social media, you can unleash it freely.

I’d love to be a fly on the wall if any of Baddiel’s online attackers, whose tweets he mirthfully but mercilessly deconstructs, ever attended My Family.

As someone who’s also highly active on Twitter and quite politically outspoken, I’ve had my own share of abuse – from both the right and the left as well as garden-variety misogynists of whatever political persuasion. I don’t fancy my chances of turning my tweets into a West End stage hit. But, in honour of Baddiel and his mum, here’s a rundown of my some of my most trolled tweets over the past two, politically tumultuous years.

Incidentally, if you’re looking for other top comedians flexing their stage muscles in the West End, you may also want to check out Sean Foley‘s (extremely) loose adaptation of Moliere’s The Miser, which sees Griff Rhys Jones in the title role, stand-up Lee Mack making a confident theatrical debut and a cast of comic stalwarts including Mathew Horne. (Scroll down for more of my on-the-night reactions to both shows.)

My Family: Not the Sitcom runs at the Playhouse Theatre and The Miser runs at the Garrick Theatre, both finishing their limited seasons on 3 June 2017.

10(ish) of my most trolled tweets

As a UK/US dual national, pro-European, “luvvie libtard” who views what is happening with populism globally as intrinsically linked, I’ve had a few tweets in the past two years that have caught heat on both sides of the Atlantic (and in more than one language). I could explain my frame of mind at the time behind each – the one on the day Jo Cox was murdered was definitely ill-phrased (Jo was an MP I admired long before she was eulogised and the tweet was sent before she was pronounced dead) – but I’ll let my 140-character-limited missives and the outsized reactions to them speak for themselves.

Presented in chronological order, it’s interesting for me to look back and see how closely these outbursts track my political ups and, let’s be frank, mainly downs since May 2015. But where does despair get us? (Answer: nowhere.) As we head into another dash to the ballot box, during which I’m campaigning for the Liberal Democrats for the first time, I have no intention of either shutting up or giving up.

May 2015

I know I’ve become a Benn bore but since 2am I have been totally unable to get these words of his out of my mind pic.twitter.com/Jt6UfwILxL

— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) May 8, 2015

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November 2015

With correct link: @JeremyCorbyn4PM ‘consulted’ me on #Syria. Here is my response: https://t.co/TauyODW1uJ #Labour pic.twitter.com/6kApGBnwCo

— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) November 30, 2015

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December 2015

Saw @TariqAli_News on @BBCNewsnight, got annoyed, wrote a blog on @STWuk hypocrisy. Pls RT https://t.co/ykalH5me7G pic.twitter.com/1CbKGcDNcB

— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) December 12, 2015

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June 2016

I hold #VoteLeave @TheSun et al responsible. This is what hate stirs up, @BorisJohnson. Shame on you. https://t.co/CFY2uTX90u

— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) June 16, 2016

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Elderly attacker ‘shouted Britain First’ before MP Jo Cox shooting and stabbing https://t.co/fAM8qySnQo pic.twitter.com/6ZxorBWXdV

— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) June 16, 2016

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July 2016

How many people are here?! People chanting IN, tourists on buses waving madly at us. #WeAreEuropean #marchforeurope pic.twitter.com/2VWBX2PrJy

— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) July 2, 2016

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I’m amazed by people who sit on a hashtag just to find others to insult. FYI Leavers, that won’t stop me taking part in next #marchforeurope

— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) July 2, 2016

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September 2016

Look who we bumped into at #marchforeurope Thanks @eddieizzard for flying the EU flag #OpenBritain pic.twitter.com/j5GjBPHufA

— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) September 3, 2016

And today, after a year of frustration & intimidation, I have quit @UKLabour. I will not support Corbyn’s party in any way #LabourDead pic.twitter.com/gz91Cp7Z7x

— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) September 24, 2016

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March 2017

After leaving Labour & seeing #Limehouse, I’ve now joined the @LibDems. Let’s get a real opposition & fight back: https://t.co/1IUlqqS0bv pic.twitter.com/6BElJwudUo

— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) March 19, 2017

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Dear Americans & Trump fans. #PrayForLondon if you want but don’t use us to justify racism & religious hatred. #WeAreNotAfraid #Westminster pic.twitter.com/QGfBYV5HH5

— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) March 22, 2017

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Someone fixed the #DailyMail‘s front page for tomorrow. Priceless. #Brexit #Legsit cc: @EverydaySexism pic.twitter.com/wmBqjWOySm

— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) March 27, 2017

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Please watch. So important from @Elif_Safak. History doesn’t always move forward. What’s happened in Turkey could happen anywhere. #resist https://t.co/MbpIlSKZ78

— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) April 11, 2017

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“Turkey’s story tells the world just how fragile democracy is vis-a-vis populist demagoguery” – Turkish writer @Elif_Safak #viewsnight pic.twitter.com/SN7rq665d2

— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) April 11, 2017

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Theatre tweets

While I can’t resist venting on politics, I do mainly tweet about theatre. Here’s what I’ve tweeted about My Family: Not the Sitcom and The Miser.

My Family: Not the Sitcom – Curated tweets by MyTheatreMateshttp://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Terri Paddock on FacebookTerri Paddock on InstagramTerri Paddock on LinkedinTerri Paddock on TwitterTerri Paddock on Youtube
Terri Paddock
Terri Paddock runs MyTheatreGroup, which provides content and social media marketing services for theatre clients across channels including MyTheatreMates.com, StageFaves.com, Stage Talk and TerriPaddock.com. Previously,
Terri Paddock founded WhatsOnStage.com and the WhatsOnStage Awards, running the company and its events from 1996 to 2013. Terri is also the author of two novels, Come Clean and Beware the Dwarfs, and has previously written for the Evening Standard, Independent, The Times and other national publications. She also produces the annual Critics' Circle Theatre Awards and acts as a digital, content strategy and event consultant for theatre, producers and other clients. She tweets about theatre at @TerriPaddock.
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Terri Paddock on FacebookTerri Paddock on InstagramTerri Paddock on LinkedinTerri Paddock on TwitterTerri Paddock on Youtube
Terri Paddock
Terri Paddock runs MyTheatreGroup, which provides content and social media marketing services for theatre clients across channels including MyTheatreMates.com, StageFaves.com, Stage Talk and TerriPaddock.com. Previously,
Terri Paddock founded WhatsOnStage.com and the WhatsOnStage Awards, running the company and its events from 1996 to 2013. Terri is also the author of two novels, Come Clean and Beware the Dwarfs, and has previously written for the Evening Standard, Independent, The Times and other national publications. She also produces the annual Critics' Circle Theatre Awards and acts as a digital, content strategy and event consultant for theatre, producers and other clients. She tweets about theatre at @TerriPaddock.

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