Welcome to my take on events in Northern Ireland as they unravel in the fast moving world of social networking web sites.
I will be keeping my beady eye fixed online throughout my busy day working for the News Letter and writing a daily digest on the wonderful, and often weird world according to online.
Since Belfast City Council’s decision last Monday to reduce the number of days the Union flag is flown from 365 to 20, flags - or flegs as they are colloquially being referred to online - sparked both peaceful protests and violence on the streets of Northern Ireland this week. They also ignited intense anger on Twitter with even First Minister Peter Robinson getting involved.
Mr Robinson has been receiving strong criticism by some posters on Twitter.
Late on Friday night @DUPLeader responded to an accusation from@reaalan “when you all sat in a room and made this decision didn’t you think this is where it would end up! your all naive”, by saying “What are you talking about? Unionists did not bring the flags motion to the Council. Address your comments to SDLP, SF and AP.”
Mr Robinson then went on to blast a BBC Northern Ireland report by posting “Some explanation! “Loyalist protests over the decision to fly the union flag at Belfast City Hall have been spreading.” Try again.”
And then issued a general response to criticism by emphasising he has condemned violence perpetrated after some flag protests: “For the handful of individuals who claim I have not condemned violence try reading statements on MTWTF instead of forwarding inane tweets.”
Twitter users locally then, encouraged by Mr Robinson’s tweets, sent him more and more messages, such as those below, with the First Minister even threatening legal action.
Soup drinker @flagomaniac48 @DUPleader Do you feel that DUP Reps such as Stalford stoked the fire of this through mass leaflet distribution demonising Alliance Party?
Peter Robinson @DUPleader @flagomaniac48 Are you serious. Leafleting is an integral and legitimate part of the democratic process. Will Alliance stop leafleting?
StiofânMacanG @lochlao @DUPleader have u found out yet who the bright spark is who thought it was a good idea to do the false flag leafleting in E Belfast?
Peter Robinson @DUPleader @lochlao Leaflet asks people to let their views be known in a respectful manner. Are you ashamed of your flag stance?
April Sommers @aprilsommers01 @DUPleader yet that’s what your leaflets provoked. You are not stupid. Stop pretending you are.
Peter Robinson @DUPleader @aprilsommers01 The leaflet did not provoke any protest. The decision to change flying the Union Flag did that.
StiofânMacanG @lochlao @DUPleader I don’t like the idea of prostituting a national flag to gain political advantage in a lost constituency.
Peter Robinson @DUPleader @lochlao You should pass that message on to those who raised the flag issue.
Emma Dale @emmadale26 @DUPleader when are DUP/UUP going to take responsibility 4 calling their ‘supporters’ onto our streets leading to obvious tension & rioting?
Peter Robinson @DUPleader @emmadale26 Instead of silly claim lets see you give a link to any statement calling people onto streets to protest.
Stephen Glenn @stephenpglenn @DUPleader Peter if you really believe that leaflet had no part to play in all this you will be incapable of leading a shared society @stephenpglenn @DUPleader Wow, what a very strongly worded reprisal Peter. “Alliance deserve what they get, but just don’t do it please”
Peter Robinson @DUPleader @RossMcCaff I get your argument. If anybody disagrees with the Alliance Party they are against a shared society. You’re really bright.
Ross McCafferty @RossMcCaff @DUPleader because endorse them or not, people have taken your leaflet and based campaign of hate on it. You should withdraw it
Peter Robinson @DUPleader @RossMcCaff You’re in denial. Why not accept that the motion should not have been brought to council. Motion raised anger not the leaflet.
Stephen Glenn @stephenpglenn @DUPleader @RossMcCaff Peter the motion brought to Council was to totally remove the flag. Amendment honours the Queen and family > 365 days
Peter Robinson @DUPleader No reference in leaflet to coming out on the streets. Try being honest. Leaflet asked people to make their views known and to show respect.
Peter Robinson @DUPleader I will not remind you again that you are subject to the law of defamation. The leaflet says “Please be respectful at all times”.
Peter Robinson @DUPleader @GarySpedding I see you have not apologised for your lie. Do you now accept the leaflet said “Please be respectful at all times?”
Gary Spedding @GarySpedding @DUPleader I don’t need to apologise to you Peter it is in fact you who should apologise to the people of Northern Ireland and Alliance
Alan @alanlaw @DUPleader log off. You are appearing terribly foolish.
Fergal McFerran @FergzMc @GarySpedding @DUPleader Mr. Robinson, your leadership over the course of recent events has been weak, as my 1st Minister you disappoint me.
Peter Robinson @DUPleader @GarySpedding I see you have not yet admitted you were wrong and that leaflet said “Please be respectful at all times”.
Ross McMullan @rssmcmlln @DUPleader @GarySpedding let’s not forget ‘to be respectful’ was in the small print after the misinformation was presented! #allianceparty
Peter Robinson @DUPleader There were over 15000 responses to consultation. Over 90% were in favour of no change.
K Rob @collapsibubble @DUPleader Since when have you been a Belfast voter or ratepayer? I fail to see what it has to do with you or anyone outside the city.
Peter Robinson@DUPleader @collapsibubble I am a voter in East Belfast and I pay rates to Belfast City Council.
K Rob @collapsibubble @DUPleader Really? How did you come to be a member of Castlereagh Borough Council then?
Jaclyn Lindsay @jaclyn027 @DUPleader u live in castlereagh...genius.
Peter Robinson @DUPleader @jaclyn027 If you are able to spot genius then you might also be able to spot that I never claimed I lived in BCC area.
Jaclyn Lindsay @jaclyn027 @DUPleader u said u pay rates to belfast city council, but u don’t. U pay rates to castlereagh borough council.
Peter Robinson @DUPleader @jaclyn027 I said I pay rates to BCC and I do. I also pay rates to CBC for my home. I await your apology.
However amid #fleggate, there has also been some light relief locally on Twitter today after comedian Ricky Gervais @rickygervais posted a photograph of himself in the bath on the social networking website, captioning it “Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the ugliest sight known to man”.
As of Monday morning, it was the third most talked about topic locally among Twitter users in Northern Ireland. Belfast man Aaron Symington described it as “quite horror like”, Niall Robinson commented “my man tits are almost as big as yours. hopefully i catch up #christmasfeast” while it brightened up Damian Mc Auley’s day “aaaaa Ricky u just cheered me right up. Thank you.”