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Sooner twitiocy and other online malfeasance

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

We’ve all done it – -said something in an effort to try and be clever or funny or cool that turned out to be somewhat inappropriate or in poor taste or just not what we thought it would be before coming out of mouth. For most of us, that moment (those moments?) happens with a friend or two or even by ourselves. We get called out for poor taste, either laugh at our own lameness or attempt to defend it, and then everyone moves on.

At least, that’s how it used to be . . .

Now we have twitter and facebook and youtube and blogs and flickr and 100 other ways to express our wrong-headed thoughts to anyone and everyone who cares to hear them. More options than we can possibly employ to have our every word, thought, and action broadcast. And we do, to the tune of (probably) billions of status updates and posts and tweets every day. And once they’re out there, they’re out there for good. No matter how badly we might want them back. And, suddenly, it isn’t just our friends or family who are telling us we’ve crossed the line, it’s potentially the whole planet.

This is the lesson that Jaz Reynolds learned yesterday. While a gunman sent the UT campus into lockdown, Jaz tweeted “Hey everyone in Austin, tx…….kill yourself #evillaugh.” Classy. If he makes this comment to a couple of guys in the locker room or to a roommate, it’s tasteless, but it’s over. But Jaz felt the need to tweet, and tweet he did. And he now faces an “indefinite” suspension – which is code for “be sure to turn in your playbook on your way to East Popcorn State”.

Reynolds isn’t the first athlete to forget someone actually sees this stuff. He’s not even the first Sooner. Along with Tommy Mason-Griffin’s facebook comments and Josh Jarboe’s YouTube exploits, Reynolds’ twitiocy completes the hat trick of poor social networking judgement. Coaches have to be going out of their minds over this stuff.

Why does everything need to be out there? Why do we feel the need to blog/tweet/update/post? And why do we spend so many hours checking out the (mostly) mindless product of all of this expression?  Jaz will pay dearly for his indiscretion (one wonders what would have happened had it been a different player doing the tweeting), but to what extent is everyone who followed Jaz on twitter complicit in his mistake? By providing the audience, we reinforce the idea that everything these folks have to say is worth hearing. Maybe we need to stop listening.

If an athlete tweets in the woods and no one is is around to RT it, would it really happen?

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