So it seems that there's a bit of a panic over social media in this country over the past couple weeks.
First off we had Shane McEntee taking his life. His party colleagues were quick to suggest that he may have been the result of cyber bullying. To my knowledge, this is all just hearsay but regardless, an investigation has been set up.
Next we had the ridiculous move of the Irish papers to charge for links to their articles. The less said about that stupidity, the better.
Then we had both John Waters and David Quinn attacking social media in their respective papers. Quinn claims that he saves the most abusive tweets he gets in his favourites. (Have a look. They're really not that bad. And there's only one that I can see that is actually a threat: https://twitter.com/DavQuinn/favorites)
Meanwhile, Johnny Waters wrote that 'a venomous and toxic social media is out of control' in Ireland, just after appearing in a Youtube video that claims that 'literally a tsunami of the culture of death is washing over Ireland' .
But over the weekend we had the panic over Jim Sheridan's tweet. For those who don't know, Jim Sheridan is a prolific tweeter with more than 8000 followers. He is also musical director on the Late Late. Before Christmas, he commented that he didn't agree with Senator Ronan Mullen's stance on Twitter. Someone else replied to him that Mullen should be hung up with rusty nails. And Sheridan responded: 'He'd be back in three days ... But we could have at least one great weekend without him appearing on TV or radio.'
Since that, Pat Rabitte has come out and called the tweet deplorable and RTE have said they're looking into it. (RTE, by the way, have a not-so-secret warning in employees contracts not to tweet about politics. There is some doubt whether this is legal.) Meanwhile Jim Sheridan hasn't tweeted since the weekend.
Jim Sheridan's response to the whole thing seems pretty fair and honest to me: 'Someone sent me a tweet which I took in good faith as a joke and was not a serious threat to Ronan Mullen. My response was to keep up the analogy about comparing him to Jesus.'
So what do you think? Is Social Media a threat? Or is it giving a voice to the thousands of angry people frustrated at the political system in Ireland?