Twitter, Carmel and a lack of tone

Many people will remember Carmel Sepuloni. She lost to Paula Bennett in Waitakere at the last election by 9 votes, after a judicial recount. She is seeking to be selected as the Labour candidate in the new seat of Kelston. Since it is election year, she has returned to Twitter, after a 14 month break. She is obviously out door knocking. It isn’t clear where, or who for, but she did send this tweet today:


Now Carmel claims, in a reply, that I will get to, that this was meant as a joke. Which it may have been, but with Twitter there is always the issue of a lack of tone, which can make picking up jokes more difficult. This difficulty has resulted in at least two people I follow commenting on her tweet. One of which resulted in this exchange:


Once again, the lack to tone causes Carmel issues. The use of terms such as “mate”, or in another case I have seen “son”, have particular meanings or associations for some people, add in the context of its location in the tweet, and it can be read as having a rather derogatory, condescending tone. Her final tweet also has a rather negative tone to it. The overall tone that comes from this exchange is that Carmel has a view, that I think is still wide spread in the Labour party, that voters who vote against Labour are mistaken and will eventually see the error of their ways.


Now compare Carmel’s tweet to this one from Chris Hipkins:


Chris manages to keep a positive tone, that no one can possibly take badly. If you are an MP, or aspiring MP, or in Carmel’s case an aspiring returning MP, be careful what you tweet, you might find it funny, but that doesn’t mean others will.