The internet is a cruel place

December’s SMC_MCR – Nigel Barlow

Paul Stokes,co founder of the Daily Mash,was the guest of honour at the third anniversary meeting of Manchester’s social media cafe last week.

The Daily Mash can claim to be the UK’s first satirical website,launched by former Scotsman business editor Stokes and Neil Rafferty,a former political correspondent for the Sunday Times
Stokes told the audience at the Northern Quarter’s Matt and Phred’s that the Mash started as a a way to stop him getting fired from the traditional media.

Launched in 2007,nine people now write for the Mash which tries to publish four to five spoof stories a day.

Stokes described his site as “ a joke delivery system” or “the press association in a parallel universe”

Has he had much problem with libel? Well he answered,”we have never had to take a story down and only once were we threatened with being sued”

Indeed,added the co-founder,”with libel the things you get sued for are not what you would expect to be sued adding another piece of advice “never compare anyone to Hitler”

Surprisingly as least to some members of the audience,the interaction of social media is something that the site has tended to shy away from.Instead it is simply used as a broadcast system.

The secret to their success? being funny about topical stuff because people are already talking about it and would like to add some humour to their conversation.

But as Stokes adds,”the internet is a cruel place….you will soon find out if you are not funny”

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