It's a rich irony given that the way Mr Martin expresses his views could easily be said to encourage the very sort of troll he takes aim at
Wetherspoons arch Brexiteer boss Tim Martin has created quite the social media storm with the news that he is pulling the company and its 900 pubs off social media.
Before you start cheering, it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the irony that positively drips from the company’s statement explaining the rationale for the decision.
“It’s becoming increasingly obvious that people spend too much time on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and struggle to control the compulsion,” Mr Martin opined, stating that he doesn’t believe abandoning a promotional tool most businesses have leapt upon will affect his trade.
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The statement also cited “recent concerns regarding the misuse of personal data” and “the bad publicity surrounding social media, including the ‘trolling’ of MPs and others, especially those from religious or ethnic minorities”.
There are many who would raise a glass to such a sentiment, myself included.
But with the way Mr Martin expresses his views he could easily be said to encourage the very sort of troll he takes aim at.
Consider the tasteless proselytising beer mats cheering Brexit being put out on tables by Polish bar staff, or the results statements that force investors to wade through his rants before getting to the relevant information about their company’s performance, or his “Tim’s Viewpoint” blog on the company website.
Mr Martin just can’t seem to resist shooting his mouth off.
And he’s often quite nasty about it.
The latest blogpost penned by the mullet sporting multi-millionaire, who once described a rival as “a Vichy style collaborator”, personally attacks a number of remainers accusing them of “fibbing” and “misinformation” while lambasting the fact that they went to either Oxford or Cambridge University.
While the stranglehold Oxbridge has in public life can be irksome to those of us who went elsewhere (Mr Martin went to Nottingham, for the record I went to Manchester) it is frankly risible to claim that the campaign against Brexit is solely the province of its graduates.
And, to my mind, it is ridiculous for a former public schoolboy whose father was a Guinness executive to be moaning about elites.
More to the point, Mr Martin’s statements risk a certain kind of Brexiteer trolling social media accounts he no longer has but his targets probably do.
There is, it is true, a certain logic to a business that relies on people being social abandoning platforms that could be said to be profoundly anti social, and are certainly deeply uncivil.
But Mr Martin isn’t always very civil himself and arguably does far more to put people off Wetherspoons than their social media habits do, starting with those beermats.
It’s fair to wonder whether this is really a part of the “techlash”, as it has been characterised in some places, or if there’s a another reason for Mr Martin’s decision.
Through the course of researching this piece I naturally put “JD Wetherspoon” into Facebook’s search box. It led me to a page badged “JD Wetherspoon Head Office”.
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I don’t know whether it is official or not but I do know that it is full of mostly unflattering reviews.
Social media is sometimes unpleasant. People often spit out things they wouldn’t dream of saying were they face to face with someone in a pub.
But it also provides companies’ critics with a chance to answer back and call them to account when they perform badly. Is that what Mr Martin doesn’t like about it? I think we should be told.