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Moral Maze on Twitter and mob rule

Wednesday 4 November 2009, 09:33

Steve Bowbrick Steve Bowbrick Head of Interactive, Radio 3

Tagged with:

flash mob

This evening starting at 2000, the disputatious crew of the good ship Moral Maze will be debating 'Twitter and mob rule'. Guests are regulars Melanie Philips and Clifford Longley plus Kenan Malik and James Panton. The programme's billing says:

This week the Moral Maze asks "when does a popular and spontaneous protest become mob rule?" Fans of Twitter, the micro blogging site, have chalked up a couple of notable victories of late. Followers helped to expose a legal injunction against the Guardian and Twitter led protests generated tens of thousands of complaints against Jan Moir when she wrote a column using the death of Stephen Gately to criticise gay marriage. Is this net based protest a valuable tool to demonstrate popular opinion or are we sacrificing traditional political engagement for the instant gratification direct action?

Since I expect the Twittersphere will be humming loudly during the programme (it's already started), let's keep track of the conversation using a hashtag.

If you're listening this evening and you feel like Tweeting about the programme or its theme, use the hash tag #moralmaze. That way everyone who's listening will be able to see each other's contributions. Use a search tool like Ice Rocket or Twitter's own. Or use a real-time display gadget like Twitterfall. There's a comprehensive list of Twitter clients and services on Wikipedia. Just follow the hashtag #moralmaze.

I'll be there, listening and tweeting on the @Radio4blog account as will other Radio 4 people. Guests Kenan Malik (a regular presenter of Analysis) and James Panton (an Oxford academic) are on Twitter and they've both mentioned their appearances on tonight's programme already.

Steve Bowbrick is editor of the Radio 4 blog

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    Comment number 1.

    Tweet about this page, with hashtag

    Come on Auntie, it is time to Twitter to the "Bookmark with: " bit!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Some time ago whilst listening to the Today programme I realised just how powerful radio could become in the future. The potential for listening to a stream whilst watching images (for instance maps) meant that the listener could be so much more involved in a broadcast than you could with TV. I could see the branches of discovery learning opening up before my eyes as radio became a streamed interactive experience - so much more so than TV which can really only be at best a push medium with the potential for a bit of collaborative activity on the side.

    Now with twitter added (or any other collaborative tool for that matter, ie CoverItLive), the public has a real way of inter-acting with the broadcaster as well as being a discovery learner; becoming part of the broadcast, and a contributor to the learning process.

    Looking forward to tonight. Hope it all goes well. Are you going to mention the Somerton Councillors and the role of Muck&Brass? I have some concerns for the future of Local Democracy in a social media savvy world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    I note that on the programme page it says that:

    Nick Cohen, author and Observer kournalist

    I don't think Nick Cohen is Indian...

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Once again, the Moral Maze features a RCP/LM double act, this time Kenan Malik and James Panton (of Pro-test fame/infamy). This makes a change from the usual dishonest double act of Malik and Claire "Her Masters Voice" Fox, but is no more welcome. Odds are good that Malik, Panton and Fox will all appear together in a future prog, so the RCP/LM will have 75% of the interrogators.

    The MM producers will know what the RCP/LM is, and who's in it, so they can't be ignorant of the backgrounds of Malik, Fox and Panton. They really should answer publicly the question as to why they allow two people from the same organisation (with the same parrotted party line) on a programme which is supposed to showcase opinions across the political spectrum. If any MMserfs are reading this, then a comment would be welcome. Mercy buckets.

    As a starter for 10 on the RCP/LM, see:


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    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.


See the latest on our blog


Find out about this year's panel and theme