Twitter and Morals

In recent years there appears to be a great fear of angering the giant known as Twitter.  This giant can either be your greatest ally or a destructive force in your live by sending total strangers after you.  Have you blogged about something that might be controversial?  Is there a popular news story?  Twitter will find out and have an opinion.  Are you gaining some level of success?  Twitter may have an opinion.  Upsetting Twitter users is something that appears to become greatly feared.

If something happens to a celebrity in the news, headlines will read something like “Twitter outraged at_______” or “Twitter lashes out because_______.”  Twitter is often cited from news networks; some articles are largely comprised of angry tweets about a certain topic.

Facebook isn’t immune to this treatment, but Twitter outrage appears to be what news organizations cling to more often.  Why is this?  As a writer I find this fascinating.  Puritans are not typically seen in a positive light by modern Americans.  The cliched Puritan was stuffy, judgmental, and looking down his nose at everything and everyone.  The truth of that assumption isn’t the point; however I think there can be a comparison drawn between Puritans and modern social media outrage, particularly on Twitter.

There seems to be this longing for people to be accepted online, and with that the fear of rejection from fellow social media users.  This is especially true of younger generations.  Kids have been bullied mercilessly on Twitter and Facebook, and some do the unthinkable as a result.

Why is Twitter given so much authority in our lives and culture?  It is a place where thought-vomiting is known to happen, along with fake outrage.   I would guess many if not most people who type angry things think much about the topic after they wrote it and walked away.  If the person does care that much, he/she should be asked why.  Why do people feel safe to say awful things online, things they would never say in person?  Why is there so much weight given to a few angry people hiding behind computing devices?

Something we all need to understand is that Twitter isn’t real.  It can be useful and fun, but it isn’t real and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.  Unlike the real world, Twitter can be turned off, or deleted entirely.  Keeping a proper perspective is important.  This isn’t at all to diminish the experiences of those who suffered cyber bullying.  Instead of fearing some of the pearl-clutching Twitter users, why don’t we keep in mind that what these folks may say it doesn’t matter.  What do you think of this cultural phenomenon?  Do you agree that angry Twitter users are given too much credibility?  Do you feel like Twitter is too often given moral authority in American culture?

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