Thursday, 22 March 2012

Twitter and The Eggshell Skull Rule « sturdyblog

Twitter goes on in parallel to real life. We all have good moments and bad moments.

There is a legal principle in Tort – “the eggshell skull rule” or “thin skull rule”. It stems from the hypothetical where person A knocks over person B and the victim turns out to have a rare condition which means the bone surrounding their head is extremely thin. B suffers disproportionate injury. The defendant A may argue that this was not “reasonably foreseeable”. This is rejected. Basically, you have to take your victim as you find it.

And so it is with twitter and a stranger’s mood. If you choose to message somebody you don’t know and offer a comment that could be construed as bitchy, crass, sarcastic, insensitive, discriminatory or offensive, there is a chance that:

a) the stranger might be an angry loon; or

b) the stranger might be (like me) usually patient and reasonable, but caught at a really bad moment.

Either way, as a result they might turn around to you and tell you, in no uncertain terms, to fuck off and die. The catalyst is still your comment – not their bad mood. I accept this risk when messaging a stranger. So should you.

My advice? Have a little look at their timeline, their biog… Try to assess whether this is a good moment. Test the water, maybe introduce yourself?

After all, it would never occur to you to eavesdrop in a stranger’s conversation in a pub, pull up a chair and explain to them why they’re an idiot. At least, not without an assessment of the percentile possibility they might smack you in the gob.

With love