What does social media tell us about people.

A little while ago I blogged about Steve Gibson and his shylock comment on the Facebook page of Greg Presland. At the time, after getting found out, he issued the following statement:


However this morning David Farrar over at Kiwiblog has posted quotes from the Timaru Herald:

The Party’s Rangitata candidate, , said yesterday he was “a bit tired of toeing the party line” which he said was “too respectful,” making a series of strongly-worded criticisms of the National Party.

Gibson said he was concerned about the “degradation of the public’s confidence in the democratic process by Judith Collins, Cameron Slater, Jason Ede and other rotten Shylocks”.

Labour party leader David Cunliffe put Gibson “on a last chance” in August for insulting Prime Minister John Key on Facebook, where Gibson called Key “Shylock” and a “nasty little creep”.

So when he got caught out using the term shylock he “apologise(d) unreservedly”, yet after this incident he is now going on record with the media using the term again. Many were willing to accept his explanation at the time that he didn’t know what the word meant, but the fact he has used it again means that he can’t use that excuse again, and it calls his use of it in the first place into question.


Steve has already used social media to show that side of his character, one in which the use of racially offensive terms is an acceptable form of political discussion. So should we really be surprised that he has done it again? Isn’t part of the point of social media, at least in a political context, that we get to see a bit more of the personality of people we interact with? If this news story was the only story we heard about Steve Gibson more of us would be surprised. But since he has already shown his views, I am not really that surprised. Nor do I think he will be able to recover from this.