August 16th, 2011 // 2:48 pm @ M.H. Nicholas
Twitter is a remarkably complex tool – complex in its potential, designed from the ground up (like the entire world wide web it seems) to appeal to and benefit most from the fingers of idiots. See The Twitter Trap by Bill Keller, NY Times Magazine (5/18/2011), The Hollywood Reporter’s 10 Most Stupid Tweets (3/15/2011).
Don’t get me wrong. I love Twitter. I tweet, throwing conversational snippets to the airwaves discriminately can be utter fun. I enjoy the potential of Twitter both as a social and marketing tool. I Twitter chat, engage others and build relationships. As a marketing tool, Twitter has proven to be brilliant, tapping into the real-time dynamic with thousands upon thousands of followers (and listeners). As a voice of the community and a mechanism for social connection, Twitter has become a force never before seen. Personally, when I speak into the Twitter-verse I feel listened to, even if not a single person actually takes the time to listen.
The Twitter Recovery Program
Venting our thoughts is not really a disease – to the contrary it is rooted in our core human nature. There have been wonderful research (note: Scientific American) which has revealed that the human being is actually wired to gossip and complain. It actually takes quite a bit of energy to stay quiet and discreet. To that point, Twitter has been seemingly tailor made to tap into that core of our humananity- the gossip, complaining, hormone-driven, biased souls that we are. It sits, waiting for each user to lower their guard, or maybe have a sip of alcohol (or more), to fill up its word quote with things that just can’t be apologized for enough. There should be a Twitter recovery program where the literate Twitter-twit (a Twitter addict) of the world can hide after Twitter errors that attract the anger of the community.
Then, like an alcoholic, we could forgive them for this soon-to-be-recognized disease because the individual did at least seek some professional help.
An Employment Lawyer’s Dream
Twitter for idiots (not a guide, a reality) is symbolic of the broad collection of behaviors that keep employment lawyers, self-help authors and therapists gainfully employed. It represents the disconnect between the logical mind that realizes that tweets really do not impact the world and the unbridled emotion that believes that a person’s two cents are essential (perhaps Larry Johnson’s gay slurs, Gilbert Gottfried’s tasteless joke, Schwarzenegger’s knife, Al Roker’s tweeting while sitting on a jury, Anthony Weiner’s whatever the hell that was, etc.) – that permit the slip of the fingers which thrust a fleeting thought into immortality. It is with great fondness for the day in which mistakes could be denied, and the more recent day when mistakes could be reconstructed and apologized for. The Twitter world proves that everyone has the potential for idiocy quite literally right at their fingertips – and undeniably, we’ll all know what you really said.
We are here to discuss jobs and employment, so it is worth mention that Gilbert Gottfried was fired for his tweet, and the woman who had applied to Cisco did not ever find her way into employment at Cisco, and the Ketchum employee who was caught bad-mouthing Memphis before speaking to FedEx (a company with extensive Memphis ties) who may or may not be employed but has certainly found his way into Twitter immortality, and so forth. It is becoming an essential requirement of hiring employers to Google and social media search their applicants.
The “why” seems to be of little relevance to the actual act of tweeting since the act of Twitter-idiocy happens in that fraction of a second when the mind isn’t paying very close attention. But the why is what I pay attention to, not only to help others learn how to behave and prevent errors on my own behalf, but to truly make sense of our human nature. But I’m a human behavior/negotiating pop-pschologist. The logical mind (sometimes even the aware mind) does not understand these slips, and the stupidity of it all is perhaps why society is so adept at punishing the errors (stones in glass houses, anyone???) rather than rewarding the fact that Twitter actually offers us a way to better understand our fellow human being.
Twitter is genius at offering the world a chance to glimpse (and memorialize) the utter humanity of our CEOs, politicians, athletes, actors, role models, and so forth. Perhaps Twitter is our only way for us to really learn who we are individually and as a society. That would be a shame, but there might actually be truth in that.
Employers work diligently to try to stop people from damaging themselves, and in that way, the business. The NFL seeks to educate its players and coaches about the risks of Twitter, and yet folks like Reggie Bush who was kind enough to share his true feelings, explained that the education on social media went in one ear and out the other.
But business needs Twitter, and social media experts repeat the mantra that being too professional will do no good in the world of web. We must loosen up, add drama and take chances for social media to be effective.
But despite all of the warnings, otherwise intelligent people can’t stop being stupid. Why, despite all of the warnings and case studies will prominent people still allow their stupidity to be captured in such a public forum? And why stop there? Why do people, not only the famous, but so many Joes and Janes, get caught having affairs? Sexually harassing? Sexting? Porn-ing? Stealing? Thank goodness for the brain farts so the bad can be revealed – it keeps me working – but some of these brain farters are actually intelligent/educated people who truly know better.
There are a number of studies indicating that people committing adultery actually want (or behave in a manner designed) to get caught. Reckless behavior seems inherent. The same goes for gossip. Psychologically, the human being can’t help but gossip. It is built into our fabric and is who we are. How do we stop this altogether? Perhaps it is by taking away the drug.
But that wouldn’t be much fun for the rest of us. Keep tweeting suckers!
And in the great words of Lil Bow Wow (tweeting while drunk driving): “Apologize for that tweet. it was stupid and immature.”