Time to Twitter and be damned
GEORGE Osborne and Ed Miliband should stand well back. In daring to criticise Bob Diamond, the man in charge of Barclays when its traders were fiddling the Libor rates to line their own pockets and make the bank look strong and impervious to the credit crunch, they have awoken a fearsome enemy.
Nell Diamond, Bob’s 23-year-old daughter, was straight on to Twitter. “George Osborne and Ed Miliband,” she taunted the two politicians who were previously unaware of her very existence, “you can go ahead and #HMD”.
Readers of a puritan disposition might want to look away now, because this stands for “hold my dick”, which may pass as Wildean wit and repartee on the New York trading floor of Deutsche Bank, where she works as an analyst. Out in the wider world, where bankers are already as popular as sleet in summer, it threw further fuel on an already blazing fire. It was quickly deleted and replaced with the less inflammatory, “No-one in the world I admire more than my dad. 16yrs building Barclays. Shame to see the mistakes of few tarnish the hard work of so many.”
Nell Diamond is not the only tweeter showing her claws in defence of a loved one. Peta Todd, girlfriend of Tour de France cyclist Mark Cavendish, lashed out at Team Sky last week after he fell over a team-mate 2.6km from the end of the race. “This is people’s lives. If you haven’t got the intention of making sure you have the team to look after the World Champ don’t just wing it. He is just a man.”
This is the new way to defend the family’s honour: in 140 characters or fewer. Back in the old days, a slighted son or daughter might get their big brother, or father, to go round to the offender’s door and have it out with them. In the pre-digital age, Nell Diamond might have sat down with a journalist from an esteemed broadsheet and run through her father’s many good points over a pot of tea in the hope of seeing a few complimentary paragraphs in print the next day.
No longer. Twitter plus smartphone equals instant tigerish response to any slight, real or perceived. Andrew Burnett, head of social at Yard Digital, says: “Twitter is a very direct way of contacting the person. You immediately get sympathy and expressions of solidarity with your cause that you would never see in the print or broadcast media.
“Here is Nell Diamond trying to do some reputation management for her dad. In itself this is admirable – if misguided. It’s a natural instinct.” Of course, Nell’s intervention has backfired. Bob Diamond’s previously unknown daughter is now revealed as a vulgar daddy’s girl. The ensuing interest in her glittering social life and extensive shoe collection means her father is, if possible, even less popular than before.
The Libor scandal is serious stuff, which is why Nell Diamond’s misjudged #HMD response has been so badly received. Less serious is model and socialite Kim Kardashian’s grievance. She recently posted a spirited defence of her mother’s much derided thong, as captured on camera in the family’s reality show Keep Up With The Kardashians. But the instinct is exactly the same: a tiger cub can be just as dangerous as a tigress.
Wendi Deng Murdoch became, inevitably, a “tiger wife” when she leapt to the defence of her octogenarian husband Rupert Murdoch. As he gave evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport committee, Deng sat behind Murdoch, monitoring his every move. When comedian Jonnie Marbles went for him with a shaving foam custard pie, her tigerish instincts – as well as some tasty volleyball moves – kicked in. With her palm open, she walloped Marbles’ head as if spiking a volleyball. Deng then went after the comedian, attempting to grind the pie into his own face. Only after being restrained by others did she tenderly wipe the foam from her husband’s cheeks and give him a hug.
America is particularly susceptible to a parent who wades in to protect a child. James Willie Jones, enraged that bullies had been tormenting his 13-year-old daughter who has cerebral palsy, marched on to the school bus to confront them. That he was charged with disorderly conduct and disturbing a school function made him even more of a hero. When two men, one armed with a hunting knife, started breaking down 18-year-old Sarah McKinley’s door, she didn’t hesitate. To the delight of the pro-gun lobby, she protected her three-month-old baby son by shooting one of the intruders. Despite his 77 years, congressman Leonard Boswell attempted to disarm a masked robber who broke into his home and threatened his daughter. “He had his hand on her throat, a gun to her face,” said Boswell after the incident. “I was reacting as a father.”
Yet thanks to instant communication, a war of words now takes precedence over the old-fashioned rammy. Unless there is a custard pie, a film crew and one of the richest men in the world involved, reaching for the laptop instead of the chib reaches so many more people. Nell Diamond deleted her #HMD tweet after a few minutes, but not before a sharp-eyed journalist had spotted it and retweeted it straight into the headlines.
And that, according to Burnett, is where social media has changed the game. Where once Twitter et al reacted to the news, commenting on what a top fella James Willie Jones is, it now leads the agenda. “It is the news. The traditional media is left trying to play catch up.”
Nell Diamond’s Twitter account, meanwhile, has gone very quiet. Ed Miliband’s wife, barrister Justine Thornton, has not yet sprung to her hubby’s defence on Twitter. The Chancellor’s wife, novelist Frances Osborne, has not responded to the woman who invited her husband to hold her dick. Yet. «
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west