[Updates at end of post]
Until this morning I had never heard of Kia Abdullah, despite her having contributed occasionally to the Guardian’s Comment Is Free strand. Now, thanks to her failing to engage brain before tweeting, everybody knows who she is. Not only that, the name of the Guardian has been dragged through the Twitter gutter, and through no fault of its actual journalists.
The backstory is straightforward: three young men on a gap year world tour have been killed in a coach crash in Thailand. Bruno Melling-Firth, Max Boomgaarden-Cook and Conrad Quashie were travelling north to Chiang Mai. All had studied at the same school in Dulwich. The cutting short of young lives is not, generally, a subject for humour, but this appears not to have occurred to Ms Abdullah.
Twitter is not known as a “micro-blogging” site for nothing: unless the Tweeter restricts access to his or her output, their feed is open and viewable by anyone, as would be a publicly viewable blog – like this one. And there are plenty of folks out there on the lookout for an excuse to indulge in a little knocking copy, especially if the target is seen as a political opponent.
Whether or not one approves of such behaviour, that’s the way it is. Papers like the Daily Mail use and churn over an increasing amount of material culled from Twitter. Paul Staines and his tame gofer Henry Cole at the Guido Fawkes blog, their pals in the right leaning part of the blogosphere (as I observed recently), are also alert to wayward Tweets.
So when Kia Abdullah – with the Guardian CiF reference in her Twitter Bio – commented “I actually smiled when I saw that they had double-barrelled surnames”, someone was bound to pick up on it. And so it came to pass: Staines and Cole trowelled it on, calling her a “Guardian class crusader”, and telling that she “laughed at [the] death of gap year kids”.
Ms Abdullah has not actually posted at Comment Is Free for over a year (the Fawkes blog calling her a “hack” is wrong, but characteristically so), but she has associated the Guardian with her moment of monumental stupidity. Perhaps she is unaware that the reference carries a responsibility with it, and is not merely some kind of accessorizing.Apologising unreservedly afterwards was the least she could do. Perhaps, after she has had time to reflect, Kia Abdullah would do all Guardian readers and contributors a favour, by removing the paper’s reference from her Twitter Bio and leaving CiF. For a very long time.