Suspend all logic. Then Tweet.
I should start out by admitting that I no longer have a Twitter account – although I was an avid user in 2008 and until the end of 2009. I found it to be time-consuming and distracting, that is not to say I don’t see how it can be beneficial. Frankly, I just don’t have the energy to tweet nor a frenetic interest in my friends’ whereabouts, thoughts and musings. But apparently I’m one of the very few people who is not constantly tweeting.
A social media endemic is sweeping through the country. Individuals who were still trying to figure out how e-mails worked a few months ago are now actively tweeting, blogging and posting on Facebook. Social media literacy is critical today as the world recognizes the power of these tools, the lack of knowledge and true understanding of these media, however, is disastrous.
Time and again, I’ve heard people make some outrageous claim and when challenged they are quick to cite Twitter. Twitter (for the most part) is not a legitimate source of information even though it must extremely tempting to take the written word for the ultimate, unchangeable and unquestionable truth (a concept philosophers have argued since ancient history). I’ve noticed that people in Kuwait have stopped thinking, quickly retweeting and often aiding the dissemination of false information. It frightens me.
My friend and her family are the latest victims of this craze. The proud owners of Pierre Marcolini’s (Kuwait branch) decadent chocolate store, they have been operating in Kuwait for years with absolutely no problem. They recently moved the store to a new location in a large, busy mall, which obviously attracted a bigger crowd. It may even have attracted the wrong crowd.
The store has been shut down by the ministry for allegedly selling chocolates that contain alcohol, thereby breaking the law. This information is not true. Samples of the imported chocolate are systematically tested by the authorities upon entering the country and have never been stopped or questioned. The owners have requested from Pierre Marcolini that the products made for the Kuwait market to be alcohol free, a request honored and maintained by all parties involved.
This whole fiasco started when an unidentified woman made this claim (based on the European Marcolini website). Samples from the store were held by the authorities for several months for analysis – the delay, deliberate or not, is questionable. The chocolates were probably not stored at the right temperature and contained fruit syrups which would have perished. In addition to the first test, two independent analyses of the same product (carried in labs in Belgium and Kuwait) have proved that the claim is false, but the woman’s vindictive campaign pushed the ministry to shut the store. She maliciously spread the word on Twitter, blogs and through Whatsapp and text messages until the country was buzzing with the news. There are now horrific statements being made about my friend’s family adding to the slander and making abstruse arguments.
I hope you support Marcolini during these difficult times and remember that rumors are not to be taken lightly as they can destroy people.
Have a great weekend and here’s a song to cheer you up after that heavy post.