I was happy being ignorant to the true personalities of folks I’m likely never to meet. There are some people out there on the internet that are “web-celebs,” as I like to call them. They are famous for whatever reason – popular blog, web-comic, podcast, etc – stuff you can only create online and make into a popular product. And when I first stumble across them, I may realize that they are only human, but I tend to forget that and become wrapped up in the phenomena that currently fuels their success (however short-lived it may be).
Then I came upon Twitter. Twitter is a mini-blogging site where users have 140 characters in which to detail their current mood, experience, location, thought, etc. It’s great for folks wanting to keep large groups up to date on their activities at any given time. From telling someone what you are about to do (ex: James is about to sit down to a nice dinner at home) to your thoughts on something you just say (ex: James thinks that anyone weighing over 315 lbs. shouldn’t wear short shorts and a halter top).
What is even better is that Twitter allows you to find and follow pretty much anyone. Even President Obama has a Twitter account, as well as other celebrities, such as Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: TNG alum LeVar Burton. You can follow these people and they can follow you, which means anything you/they type will automatically update on that persons “read” list.
Now, the dark side of this popular social site, as I see it. When you find that popular blog writer, web artist, etc, and subscribe to their Twitter feed, should they have one, you are opening yourself up to their world. Their thoughts, actions, comments and all are going to be broadcast to you for your reading pleasure. This is where you can have ideals about folks quickly crushed. Someone you may hear talk about family and church and God all the time, may tweet (that’s what the updates are referred to) something that tends to clash with what they broadcast to the larger masses. Someone who attends church may roll their eyes and make sarcastic comments when someone else thanks God for a favorable resolution. Another may insult people based strictly on their political outlooks. Talking about change and becoming offended when someone points out Obama’s shortcomings may offend these people who refer to the offenders as idiots who are brain dead.
Maybe it is just me, but I personally have lost the small amount of respect I had for a few of the folks I use to think was pretty cool. It’s one thing to star in a blockbuster movie and have people love you. But to pull yourself up thanks to a venture you decided to put on the internet, amidst the billions of other folks out there, and managed to stand out … that’s something special in and of itself. But to have an arrogant, ignorant attitude toward other people who help make you what you are because they have differing views or opinions is bad decision making.
And everyone Twitters: teachers, preachers, movie stars, television stars, website celebrities, game developers, the average joe down the street from you. I know the appeal of the internet is the lack of accountability for most of what you do or say. I’m sure a lot of folks would mind their tongues a bit better if saying these things in public amidst unknown folk … but the internet empowers people. As such, some are going to come off as … not very nice.