Hacks like to complain about Twitter. But, equally, they like to be on Twitter. This is a category of Tweeters that want to have it both ways: they want to be able to show themselves off using whatever medium – preferably free – is available, but object when they find that Twitter, like a crowded suburban train, contains anyone and everyone who wants to make that particular journey.
And then there is the matter of anonymity. Some Tweeters do so from an assumed name, but here a problem enters: anonymous users who then abuse their cover tend not to attract sympathy, and the basic problem of the less talented in being unable to cover their tracks leads to their being unmasked. In the last few days, two of these anonymous Tweeters have been rumbled.
First, and most instantly deserving, was the splendid specimen of buffoonery calling himself Tabloid Troll. The claim to anonymity was reinforced by the assertion that he was a “whistleblower”, but the third hand gossip being peddled fell far short of deserving that appellation. And then he started being abusive to others, while trying to unmask other anonymous users.
Thus Tabloid Troll had crossed the line, as he attempted (hilariously badly) to “out” the excellent Tabloid Watch, while keeping up a torrent of jealous abuse at Rich Peppiatt for being moderately successful since his departure from the appallingly downmarket Daily Star. The day of reckoning came when the serially tenacious Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads fame induced a click too many from him.
And lo, Tabloid Troll was revealed to be Dennis Rice, a passed-over Major who has been scraping a living selling tittle-tattle following his departure from being a real journalist some years ago. Rice has complained to the Police, as if they can somehow help him bend reality to his will. Then, soon after, came the outing of a catty soul who Tweeted as Fleet Street Fox.
This equally foolish being also decided to wind up others, while revealing that her Friday outpourings would be appearing at the Mirror’s website. The addition of two and two began to equal four for an increasing number of suspicious minds, as well as irritating the heck out of Sarah Ditum at the Staggers. And then the Fox picked a scrap with Jemima Khan. This was not a wise move.
Whether Ms Khan was aware that Chris Atkins had already named the Fox as Mirror hack Susie Boniface is not known. But to be on the safe side, she pitched the name once more, together with a précis of one of Boniface’s nastier and more intrusive bits of work. There has been defiance and bleating from the Tabloid Troll at this, while the Fox has, for once, gone to ground.
Both have learned that Twitter is everyone’s playground, not just theirs. Good.