Laura Kuenssberg has been mocked for incorrectly explaining the internet slang term “s***posting”.
On an episode of Brexitcast, the BBC’s flagship political podcast, Kuenssberg attempted to explain the term to her colleagues in reference to the Conservative Party’s internet campaigning.
The Tories have been accused of making deliberately bad posts online to bait users into sharing them with angry or mocking captions.
For example, they shared this image with the infamously bad Comic Sans font...
In response to the strategy, this is how the BBC political editor described s***posting:
So political parties or campaign groups make an advert that looks really rubbish and then people share it online saying ‘Oh, I can’t believe how s*** this is’ and then it gets shared and shared and shared and shared and they go ‘ha ha ha, job done.'
The problem is... that's not what s***posting is.
The Conservatives tweets were certainly s*** posts but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are “s***posts”.
In its most common forms, s***posting is not associated explicitly with political campaigning.
The top definition on Urban Dictionary describes it as:
The constant posting of mildly amusing but usually unfunny memes, videos or other pictures that are completely random or unrelated to any discussions.
Many examples of s***posting are harmless absurdist jokes – which are incredibly popular online – but the term has taken on a political context in recent years, due to s***posting appearing in the Christchurch shooter’s manifesto and posts being used to promote Donald Trump in 2016.
The irony of Kuennsberg’s misinterpretation is that s***posts are sometimes designed to provoke a reaction in less internet-savvy viewers, who may become annoyed or confused by them.
After the BBC shared her description, almost every journalist with a decent understanding of the internet piled in to explain why she was wrong.
Of course, the definition of s***posting is broad and vague but to describe it strictly as a political strategy is simply misleading.
Although the Conservative posts are arguably an example of s***posting, they are not the definition of the action.
It's no surprise that Kuenssberg doesn't understand internet slang as she didn't spend her formative years online - but this could have all been avoided if someone on the Brexitcast team had asked someone under the age of 30 about it.
RIP s***posting - you can join “trolling” in the graveyard of internet slang killed by journalists.