Monday, March 7, 2011

Thinking before tweeting: what's the fun in that?

I had been being to write about this for the past couple weeks, but well, the SID life has gotten in the way. And while the story is a two weeks old, I feel it provides an important lesson.

Paul Hagen, who covers baseball for the Daily News in Philadelphia, recently wrote a column entitled, "Careful with that new social media," in which he speaks of how people overreact on the littlest things on the Internet and fan the flames of rumors quickly and rapidly through the wonders of social media.

Oh, what tangled webs we weave when we don't think before we tweet.

A furor arose in Phillies Phandom when someone (I don't remember who and Hagen does not specify in his column) tweeted that the mild strain under his left armpit "is" the reason why Cliff Lee threw fewer pitches than his teammates when spring training first opened.

What's the big deal about the word "is"? It implies Lee is still dealing with the injury now. Had the verb in question had been "was," perhaps not as big of a fuss would've ensued.

Grammar lesson aside, I found the column comical if for no other reason than Hagen calling social media new. In my view, social media has been around ever since humans began to communicate. Only in recent years has social media exploded due to the platforms we now have available at our disposal to helps us spread the latest, umm, 'news.'

Within a matter of hours - and honestly, it's probably quicker than that, can a 'tasty tidbit' span the globe as fact via Twitter, Facebook and any other social media tool out there. I recall vividly in April of 2010 the range of emotions I felt when I read via Twitter of the death of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, seeing his bio updated on Wikipedia to reflect this latest news, only to find out it was all a hoax. And all of this happened within a matter of an hour or so.

The written word is a powerful tool, and it is even more so in the digital age we found ourselves. With Twitter and Facebook amplifying our voices, everything we say has the potential of reaching an audience we never imagined and sometimes never intended to reach.

With that in mind, I tweet by these two simple rules:

1. Never tweet anything you would not say to a person's face or that would embarrass your mother;

2. And for the second rule, I'll let Thumper take it from here:


  1. I like your two rules! If we could live by those, I think we'd be ok on Twitter and elsewhere!

  2. Thanks, Chris! I agree, and I honestly try to live by those rules and they've prevented me from saying something I'm pretty sure I would've regretted.