It's Wednesday, my Puddlers. I hope you all enjoyed Mr. Erik Lilleby's strange but somewhat moving high school tale from yesterday. It seemed to be a good fit to switch gears from my self-serious Osama bin Laden post from Monday.
Today, we have Alex Theoharides back in his regular Wednesday slot to weigh in on some Osama fallout as well as to present his thoughts on one of my favorite things—Twitter.
Enjoy, my Puddlers.
Theoharides On Social Media or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Twitter
Okay sports fans. It’s been a crazy start to May. There’s no need to recount the events of this past Sunday (which Mr. Matt Domino tackled admirably here), but I would like to take a moment to note, as many others have, that there is something a bit frightening in the mass jubilation that followed news of Bin Laden’s death. My initial reaction to his death was celebratory. I wanted to high-five someone. Clearly, he had to be killed. Clearly, he deserved exactly what he got -- and probably even more. However, it worries me when people, such as me, celebrate violent death. It lends a certain credence to violence, which in turn can only create more violence. Engraved in my memory, alongside the terrible images of planes crashing into the Twin Towers, is the image of radical fringe groups within the Islamic world celebrating the attack on America. As a child, it made me hate these people, and yes, it made me desperately want the United States to seek violent retribution against them. My fear is that children in the Middle East will see the images of Americans celebrating the death of Bin Laden and they will want to seek revenge on us. Bin Laden had to die. However, we don’t need to celebrate his death as if he were some sort of great figure. He was a terrorist who killed thousands of people. We should breathe a sigh of relief that he’s gone. We should be glad that he’s dead. And as nation we should move forward and try to continue to deal with our mounting debt, our high unemployment, our sham of a health care system, our lack of equality for people in the LGBT community, etcetera, etcetera …
About ready for me to get off my high horse and back to the regularly scheduled broadcast? Me too.
One of the most interesting aspects of Bin Laden’s death was how it was covered via Facebook and Twitter. As you undoubtedly know by now, the raid on Bin Laden’s hide-out was accidentally broken by a man named Sohaib Athar, who was apparently woken from his sleep by the sound of helicopters flying overhead. Then, because like so many Tweeters, he felt everyone should know about his every little discomfort, Athar proceeded to detail what was going on with the helicopter. Twitter, in other words, allowed regular people to have access to a unique first-hand account of a local man’s reaction to the events. It also allowed me to hear dozens and dozens of opinions of the raid. Not just from news outlets trying to push a certain angle or agenda. Not just from politicians. But from famous athletes, celebrities, journalists, my friends, local business owners, and yes, from people in the Middle East. Some of the things people tweeted were clever; some were wise, some funny, and many completely idiotic. Yet they were all original, unadulterated reactions. It was amazing to watch and, when I finally tore myself away from my Twitter page, I realized how much more informed I was than if I had simply read an article or watched the news.
I was slow to join the Twitter bandwagon, recycling all the clichéd complaints: Twitter is killing good writing. It’s not news, it’s self-promotion. It’s just another example of how technology is killing our attention span and making us all dependent on computer screens. I was wrong. Twitter adeptly skips over the middleman, allowing us to observe primary sources in real time. I don’t need to turn on the television. I don’t need to wait for the morning paper. I can simply turn to my Twitter page to see exactly how the world is responding to a given event. Bin Laden’s death usurped the Charlie Sheen insanity as the #1 event in Twitter history. I’m not sure it will ever be topped—however, I think there’s more where it came from. Here’s a list of events that (if and when they happen) will break on Twitter.
Please note: These are grouped from the likely, to the potential, to the ridiculous. None of them have happened yet, and I’m in no way suggesting I want all of them to happen. Just a few of them.
- The death of Fidel Castro.
- A famous male athlete announces that he’s gay.
- A high school athlete Tweets that a college coach/booster tried to offer him money/incentives to come to his school.
- Extra marital affair of prominent US Politician
- News breaks of the elopement of Justin Bieber and (X,Y or Z gal pal).
- Charlie Sheen accidentally locks himself in a closet, claims he mistook himself for a hooker.
- Assassination attempt on a prominent US Politician (i.e the President).
- Betting/Fixing scandal in sports.
- Mark Cuban and David Stern come to fisticuffs after Dallas is knocked out of the playoffs.
- Sarah Palin is caught leaving a hotel room with Donald Trump.
- My long time suspicions are confirmed when Matt Domino is discovered to be the reincarnation of Fats Domino.
- Aliens land in Minneapolis, get confused by how nice everyone is, decide to leave.
- People read/laugh/enjoy this post.