Twitter As Populist Assassin

You're fired


For the cherubs out there who’ve never heard of one Kyle Dalton Sandilands, he’s an Australian radio personality renowned for his outspoken and often abrasive comments about other public figures. The latest Kyle offensive was aimed at a female journalist and involved him saying that he would hunt her down. This followed comments, on air, about her weight and her cleavage. Ordinarily Kyle’s comments either boost his ratings or end with mild scoffs at his naughtiness. Not this time. This time he’s reeling after a shot to the kidneys by Twitter, the populist assassin.

With hundreds of millions of users worldwide, Twitter is evolving into a creature more efficient than government ombudsmen when it comes to holding businesses liable for their actions. The Kyle saga to date, as reported in traditional media, has mentioned little of the media watchdog’s views of his conduct – despite some some online sources pointing out breaches of broadcasting guidelines. Instead a remarkable thing is happening – the public are turning to social media, using hash tags like #vilekyle, to express their thoughts on companies that sponsor or support Kyle’s broadcasts.

Companies including Holden, Telstra, Vodafone, Medibank, Fantastic Furniture and Blackmores are reacting swiftly to audience concerns and are severing ties with Kyle. Wisely they’re confirming their divorces through social media like Twitter. It’s interesting to note that a lot of the sponsors, pulling the pin, have customer bases skewed largely towards females. Obviously the influence of social media is being noticed by media buyers, and Kyle is now a poisoned chalice. They’ll now be looking for the brew that is true.

So now the story rolls on. Kyle could potentially fall on his sword and take the newly dubbed Jackie the Enabler with him. It would really gladden the soul of media commentator Jeff Jarvis to know that the people have spoken and taken back the metaphorical occupy wall street tag. In this case #vilekyle will stick and the obscene media spends that these companies had been directing towards one man could now power the vast audience of bloggers, tweeters and other grass roots media. Viva La Revolucion.

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Davey Whale

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11 2011

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