Content is the new battleground in the perennial �he said, she said� argument � as Shane Warne has proved
Shane Warne is in the news again. Not for his cricketing exploits. Not for inexplicably managing to pull Liz Hurley. Not even for his increasingly bizarre skin colour. But for allegedly being involved with a road rage incident with a cyclist.
The incident took place in St Kilda last month when Warne was driving home. What happened exactly is a classic example of the age-old �he said, she said� argument so loathed by primary school teachers yet loved by lawyers. Only this argument has taken a decidedly modern twist.
�Warnie� has taken to Twitter like a leg-spinner to a turning, foot-marked, fifth-day wicket. Much of his courtship with the gorgeous Ms Hurley took place � rather nauseatingly at times � on the micro-blogging site. So it was hardly a surprise when he unleashed the following, um, spin on events:
Warne followed it up with a complaint that the mainstream media had incorrectly reported the incident and had gone out of its way to make him look bad, as usual. He claimed the cyclist had grabbed hold of his car to hitch a ride, yelled at him and banged on his bonnet. Many tweeters, including soccer player Tim Cahill, A Current Affair host Tracey Grimshaw and ex-Neighbours starlet Holly Vallance tweeted their support for him and his calls for cyclists to display licence plates, like cars.
Out came the cyclist�s version of events. Web designer Matthew Hollingsworth not only disputed Warne�s story, claiming Warne deliberately drove his car into him � and posted this picture as proof.
Warne dismissed this (on Twitter, of course) the next day: �Have just seen bike riders version of events, please buddy – whatever ! I’m not going to get into a 5 year old tit for tat..,�
And so the story went quiet for a couple of weeks, until it was announced that Hollingsworth was launching a civil claim against Warne for $1575 to repair his bike, plus damages, interest and costs.
Interestingly, Hollingsworth�s lawyer, George Defteros, has said it was Warne�s taking to Twitter to make a private incident so very public that was behind the decision to sue, adding: �We want to put our version of events across really.�
Which means that unless there�s an out-of-court settlement, it will be up to a judge to decide who�s telling the truth. It could be that Warne was in the wrong and immediately tried to turn his public profile and 600,000+ Twitter followers to his advantage by immediately trying to absolve himself of responsibility � a move that may be about to backfire
Or it could be that cycler Hollingsworth was, as Warne tweeted, to blame and his court action is an attempt to get something � money, 15 minutes of fame � from a celebrity. He wouldn�t be the first person to have tried that.
Either way, the ongoing incident is proof that social media content not only makes the news, but it is becoming increasingly influential in how people think and judge issues.
So out of interest, whose version of events do you believe? An Australian icon and one of the greatest cricketers of all time, who also happens to be a man with a track record of getting into rather public hot water, or the cyclist whose character is largely unknown?
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