Tweeting: How To Make People Dislike You With One Bad Decision

I have heard legend of a simpler time.

Years ago, in a previous century, people would express themselves through the age old practiced tradition of speaking. If they had something to say about a particular event, they would say it to a nearby friend or family member or random person on the street.

If no one was around, they would say it, out loud, to themselves. If discovered speaking to themselves, they would be carted to an insane asylum for a nice dose of electric-shock therapy (those were simpler times indeed!), but this did not stop people from communicating this way.

Then the internet was born. People would warm up their monitors, dial up their AOL connection and they were able to message people instantly, also known as instant messaging.

That was not fast or anonymous enough, though. Feeling like everyone should be expressing themselves all of the time online, John P. Twitter invented his famous social media device entitled “The Twitter.”

I’m sure when Twitter was invented, the makers had grandiose plans about the world communicating and becoming closer because of this. Suddenly, everyone is able to read your thoughts as soon as you think them. How could that be bad?

Well, it turns out people sometimes don’t think before they Tweet.

On Monday, celebrity Ryan Dunn was killed in a car crash. The car crash was severe enough that he was burned beyond recognition when paramedics arrived on the scene. That tends to happen when you wreck a Porsche while going over 100 miles per hour.

Earlier that evening, he had tweeted pictures of himself drinking. I know what you’re thinking. “How could drinking before you drive be bad? I frequently have water or a nice Diet Pepsi before I hop behind the wheel.”

Well, Ryan Dunn had what we like to call “alcohol,” French for “keeps you from driving a vehicle well.” Because of these pictures that he himself posted on Twitter, people have been calling him the worst human being ever. Never mind the fact that we do not know how much he had to drink or what his blood alcohol content was. Twitter made people lash out at a dead man.

One of those people who lashed out did so via HIS Twitter. His name is Roger Ebert and he is famous for making emperor like decrees about movies, deciding their fate with the movement of a thumb.

Just hours after Dunn’s death, Ebert tweeted “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” Now, I’m not sure what the social protocol happens to be when tweetering bad words about a human being who has died, but I imagine it involves waiting at least a day.

Of course this angered Ryan Dunn’s friend Bam Margera who took to his Twitter and said, “@#%$^#$ @#%$%#$ &^%@#$% #$^#$^%#@%  @#%@#%$%@%^,” roughly translating to “Dear Roger Ebert, I do not care for your words about my dear friend. Please do not say anything else about him. Thank you, kind sir.”

Naturally, Roger Ebert tweeted back. And I’m sure Bam Margera tweeted back at him. And they angrily tweeted back and forth for the rest of eternity.

That night, there were two mistakes made by Dunn. One was drinking before he drove. It really isn’t a smart idea.

The second, though, was his use of Twitter. This is the same mistake that Roger Ebert is guilty of. Also Anthony Weiner and countless other people.

If these people had not used their Twitter, their legacies would be intact. People would not wish them ill and hate the very mention of them. There would be significantly fewer death threats aimed their way or smart aleck comments about their death aimed their way.

Not that I’m expecting people to stop tweeting altogether. After all, how else will I know that my friend “B hngry” and is “Gettin’ sum ‘Za with @otherguyontwitter Woot! Haha!” It is very important to know these things in case you are questioned by the FBI about their whereabouts.

Just think about what you’re tweeting. It seems fairly commonsense, but apparently no one does it.

Otherwise, much like Ebert, you may end up putting your virtual foot into your twittermouth.

Yes, that is as unpleasant as it sounds.

4 thoughts on “Tweeting: How To Make People Dislike You With One Bad Decision

  1. I think Twitter gives people yet another way of opening one’s mouth to insert one’s foot. As if some people don’t get in enough trouble doing that the old fashioned way. I’ve personally never tried Twitter and doubt that I will – I have not seen where it adds anything to anyones life, except for the opportunity to write posts such as this.


  2. Ebert definitely hit below the belt on at least two counts…1). The timing of the tweet. His tweet was a bit too soon to be trashing a guy when maybe people personally close to him may not have gotten the news from another source. 2). The facts were not yet in on the circumstances of the crash…the toxicology reports were not back and although Dunn’s own tweets seemed to indicate that he had been drinking, it is not clear whether he had consumed enough recently for it to have possibly contributed to the accident.

    R.I.P., Ryan. Your antics and humour were much appreciated by me and my wife. I hope you’re raising a little hell in Heaven!


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