BUSY social networkers have been sharing the virtues, failings and quirks of Bolton online.
The hashtag “Ifyouknowbolton”
was trending on Twitter for two days.
Some of the town centre features which were highlighted on the social networking site include the painted elephants in Great Moor Street, Carrs Pasties and the old Bolton Wanderers ground at Burnden Park in Manchester Road.
Tweets such as “#IfYouKnow- Bolton Then you'll know that @carrsPasties are amazing #Best- FoodKnownToMan” from Ben Reardon kept Tweeters chatting all afternoon on Tuesday.
As did this from Irfan Adam ?@Iffy_BWFC, who wrote “#IfYouKnowBolton you shud know what Manchester Road is famous for#BWFC #BurndenPark” — WALKING DOWN THE MANNY ROAD TO SEE THE BURNDEN ACES”
On paper, these tweets may seem like a mixture of slang and momentary chatter but according to a technology expert, this “trending” is a positive sign for the town.
Dr Rachel McLean, academic manager for computing, games and creative technologies at the University of Bolton, said: “It is great news for Bolton that #ifyouknowbolton is trending.
“This raises the profile of Bolton, and not only gives members of the community a voice allowing their opinions to easily be expressed, but it gives community leaders, councillors and planners access to those opinions to inform them for future developments.
“Opinions which would have been harder to access without this technology.”
But not all of the tweets about Bolton were positive and contained some offensive content. As with other other social networking sites such as Facebook, controversial content is not uncommon.
Dr McLean says this is due to people’s sense of anonymity.
She added: “There are dangers associated with the use of all social media including Twitter. There is a feeling of anonymity which removes some of the usual inhibitions and social etiquette, or peer regulation, of what is being said.
“Offensive comments may be tweeted and have a very detrimental affect on others.
“Those who aren’t fully aware of how Twitter works may mean to direct message someone, or keep their tweet to a closed group of followers, not realising that tweets or messages can very easily be retweeted to a wider audience beyond their control.”
But as several high profile cases in Bolton have shown, social networkers can still be traced through their Twitter or Facebook accounts.
Student Liam Stacey, from Pontypridd, Wales, was jailed for racist comments made about Fabrice Muamba in March this year.
In October a 14-year-old Millwall fan came under fire for posting a mock-up picture of Bolton Wanderers striker Marvin Sordell with a gun pointed at his head on Facebook and a threatening message.
In the future, the perpetrators of offence like those committed against Muamba and Sordell would be affected by the next public consultation held by the Law Commission.