A storm on a pizza, or The death of journalism in Malta

Most people love their country. Most people feel duty-bound to defend it at all times, no matter whether it’s right or wrong. I am personally more patriotic than I care to admit, because when push comes to shove I will always back my country in matters of importance (if I think we’re right).

I also believe, however, that we can’t only see things through rosy glasses, and that for us to ever improve someone needs to point out problems and issues and offer constructive criticism wherever possible.

So recently Malta played against Italy in a World Cup qualifier. So, we lost by two-goals to nil. So an Italian guy living in Malta commented about the match and taunted us about it on Facebook.

Lesson number 1: Social Media Marketing

From a social media marketing point of view it was a dumb thing to do. It was not dumb because he posted the comment, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and he who never taunted anyone else can throw the first stone. It was dumb that he posted the comment from his restaurant’s page. Social media is a double edged sword. If you intend using it to market your business, then take it seriously. Plan each and every post well. Time them, test their success and improve upon them constantly. Do not post random comments from your business’ page, that’s what personal profiles are for.

Lesson number 2: The official death of Malta’s national newspaper

The Times is officially being driven by click-hunters. They have stopped caring about good journalism and have fallen for sensationalism. Yes, I know, it is a cliche, but they have truly became what they despised. How can a spat on Facebook be national news? Where is the sense of responsibility, of owing it to the nation to filter the good from the bad, to only cover subjects that matter, intelligently.

Poor Mabel. If only she could see what her legacy would become I’m pretty sure she’d be the first one standing outside its doors with a flaming torch in hand.

It is a pity. I loved the paper and I still love the institution that gave me my first job and taught me so much. I just can’t tell what’s going on through their heads at the moment. Hopefully someone will wake up and realise what’s happening some time soon.

Lesson number 3: The line between nationalism and xenophobia is a fine one

And the Maltese tread along it very precariously. The reaction something gets when it involves a foreigner doing something to Malta or someone Maltese is as ridiculous as it is scary. Guys, build a bridge and get over it, the world is not only made up of Maltese people. So please judge people on their own merit, not by the cover on their passport or their accent. If someone taunts you, you can taunt back in a friendly manner, not get up in arms about it. And, yes, I know Ruzar Briffa’s poem too, thank you very much, but for heaven’s sake – learn the difference between an insult and oppression.

Micro-lesson: Facebook groups

Anyone who adds me to a Facebook group like the one that was created for this will be immediately unfriended and reported to Facebook as being “annoying”. Just sayin’.

And finally…

I’m off to have a pizza at this pretty little place in Xemxija, not sure if you’ve heard about it.

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