Thursday, November 10, 2011

Is @AplusK Tweeting His Own Tweets?


That was the sentiment express by Ashton Kutcher not long after he seemed to question the decision to fire Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.

In case you were unaware, Paterno was fired for failing to follow-up on charges that an assistant coach was molesting young boys in the locker room. That assistant coach was later arrested. Paterno did report the allegations to school authorities, but when nothing was done by them, Paterno carried on with business as usual.

fast forward to last night when word came down that Paterno had been fired from his job at Penn State. Kutcher chimed in via Twitter with this gem: “How do you fire Joe Pa?”

That brought on the "whoops" moment, when Kutcher later Tweeted that he felt "awful about this error" and would "stop tweeting until I find a way to properly manage this feed."

This Tweet would seem to imply someone else (clearly a Joe Paterno fan) has been managing his uber popular Twitter feed. With 8 million Followers, Kutcher is by far one of the most popular celebrities on Twitter. This is due in no small part to the fact that Kutcher seemed to be genuine in his Tweets; interacting directly with his multitude of fans.

Now it seems the cat is out of the bag and he may have joined the ranks of those who use the work of someone else to keep their Twitter feed current and relevant.

How about you? Who runs your Twitter feed?

For someone who has over 8 million followers and a reputation to uphold, this blunder was titanic.

But this case of overreacting on social media, without knowing all the facts, is not unique to this event. Social Media has changed our society and culture as it allows for instant communication. But this instantaneous medium is a double-edged sword. While allowing us to share ideas in real-time and around the globe, it also prompts instant reactions which are not constructive to the conversation. No longer do we take the time to think on an issue and do a little bit of research to figure out the context and all the facts surrounding it. Instead, when we see something that we disagree with on the surface, we respond immediately and sometimes forcefully; then move on to the next, never having taken the time to study the issue. This makes us look foolish and ignorant and contributes nothing productive to the conversation.

While social media presents a unique opportunity to communicate more effectively with each other, we should take the time to study the facts of an issue before succumbing to the temptation to tweet out a knee-jerk reaction.

Click here to read more about the social media impact of the Paterno firing.

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