Dear Cool Kids
This is a letter from all the tweeps and bloggers you describe as ‘brokens’. I know how much you hate open letters so I chose this form of communication particularly to piss you off. Not that I have to try very hard to piss you off because clearly us ‘brokens’ piss you off just by our very existence.
Before I go on, I should explain this school-yard scenario to those unfamiliar.
My first experience of being called a ‘broken’ was this exchange on Twitter after I posted an article I wrote on the Labor Herald:
If this looks a bit like one writer making herself feel good by putting down another, that’s because it is. This is Paula Matthewson (@Drag0nista) laughing behind my back in the locker room because I’m not wearing trendy enough clothes. Or I care too much about the things I write about. Or I don’t earn money for writing. Or something. Note that since Paula is one of the meaner of the Cool Kids, she is being especially nasty-cool by misspelling broken as ‘broekens’. I’m guessing that’s because I’m extra-broken.
At the time, I was so uncool, I didn’t even know what language this Cool Kid was speaking, so I just assumed Paula had mis-typed some rude put-down and moved on. But then over the last week, I’ve seen the phrase ‘brokens’ popping up all over Twitter and it’s become a bit of a pile-on bully fest of the Cool Kids asserting their authority over those who dare use social media and blogging to write about topics the Cool Kids deem to be laughably uncool.
One of my favourite Tweeps, aptly named @geeksrulz, who, like me, comes from the clan of broken, has laid out the whole story eloquently here. The reason it’s funny he’s done it Buzzfeed style is because Mark Di Stefano, political reporter from Buzzfeed, one of the chief Cool Kids, ignited much of the ‘broken’ sledging with this tweet:
If you’re a little confused by now about how Mark Di Stefano, who is ridiculed by the Coolest of the Cool Kids in the mainstream media, came to be chief bully-boy, you only have to remember back to year 9 when the kid that was picked on the most had a growth spurt over Summer and went to the gym and got muscly and came back as the bully-from-hell due to his misguided belief that to stop being bullied one must become a bully.
Leaving out of Mark’s list ‘Schapelle truthers’, which was only put in there for extra-ridicule, it should beggar belief that a so-called political journalist, albeit using a new form of media in Buzzfeed list form, but journalist nevertheless, would laugh at people who write about, discuss and generally care about newsworthy stories such as Ashbygate and the NBN story from this week, which independent news site New Matilda expertly delivered.
What Mark is basically saying on behalf of the Cool Kids, is that stories about a plot to topple a government and to destroy the career of an elected MP and Speaker, and another story about our public broadcaster directing a tech journalist not to publish a piece critical of a potential future Liberal government’s NBN policy due to political pressure, is not the type of journalism that proper journalists like him are interested in. And so when the journalistic void this attitude creates is filled by independent writers, and discussed by independent voices on social media, like paying out the kids who are nerdy enough to do their maths homework and actually care about passing high-school, there is something wrong with the void-filling brokens. Sadly this is not unbelievable because it’s oh so typical of the way our media operates.
The good news for the brokens, and the bad news for the Cool Kids, is the brokens are going to be on the right side of history in this Twitter-feud. I don’t just mean that we’re on the right side of history because anyone who is working in the public interest, whether for money or just because they can, is doing the right thing. I also mean that we brokens are the Uber drivers taking over the taxi industry because the taxi drivers have been offering a bad service with poor air-conditioning and not letting us choose the radio station for too long. Consumers of media don’t have to put up with taxi drivers who don’t turn up because there are us brokens offering them the information they need, disseminated for free over the internet and accessible by everyone.
Remember when the Geek from highschool turned up at the 10 year reunion with a better career than the Cool Kids who used to laugh at her behind the bike sheds? Laugh all you like Cool Kids. It’s water off a duck’s back to us brokens. Never has it been so cool to be so broken.