The Soap Box: Vilification of Chris Bishop is sick

Author
Barry Soper,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 13 February 2018, 5:29AM
Chris Bishop has been under fire for his actions on Snapchat. (Photo / Getty)
Chris Bishop has been under fire for his actions on Snapchat. (Photo / Getty)

There's nothing worse than men or women of my age trying to be hip when it comes to the all-pervasive social media.

Both Bill English and Andrew Little are a bit younger than me but their attempts at the unforgiving media before the election last year was a good example.

English's spaghetti and pineapple pizza posted on Facebook simply turned the stomach and his walk/run video had the same effect. His lonesome Snapchat posting on his living room couch reacting to the America's Cup win simply gave the appearance of loneliness, particularly when some of his Cabinet colleagues were down at the Royal Port Nick Yacht Club popping corks.

Little's foray wasn't much better, ironing a shirt for a Facebook post in his office which would do little to encourage the T-shirt generation. The best use of the medium was by the next generation down, Jacinda Ardern just before she became leader, posting a piece on her surprise visit to her sister's wedding in London.

Snapchat, where you post a ten-second video clip which self-destructs after the recipient views it, is gaining traction. Act's David Seymour, putting himself out to the younger set, posted a condom packet with full party branding bearing the slogan "Helping people keep more of what they make" and urging recipients to vote for his party, with a rider "Be safe Kids."

It hardly rated a mention and neither did National's Chris Bishop's use of Snapchat before the campaign. He was privately ribbed about it, trying to get down with teenagers, but as the party's youth spokesman, no one made anything of it, until now.

An anonymous mother "confronted him about it" back then saying she and many other parents were uncomfortable that their children were being messaged by the MP. Bishop freely admitted he'd been using the medium to reply to kids and thanked the mother for bringing it to his attention and changed his use of it to a more public "story mode" rather than individual messages.

But politics is about perception and his use of a medium that automatically deletes messages, mainly to keep them from parents, immediately raised hackles that he was up to no good. That of course wasn't the case, he was simply trying to relate to an audience of future voters, and it's a growing audience.

More than a hundred million, 86 percent of them under 35, use Snapchat daily and twice as many 18 to 24 year olds watched the first Presidential debate on the app rather than watching it on telly.

The vilification of Bishop is sick, mainly by those with warped minds, and is obviously politically motivated, curiously coming at a time when Labour was on the ropes over its unfathomable closure of charter schools!

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