Monday, June 11, 2012

Scott Walker, the Recall, and Twitter

This isn't about politics.  This isn't about public unions.  It's not about Democrat or Republican.  It's about civility.  This is about the reaction following Governor Scott Walker's victory in the recall election last week.

In today's world, anyone can create a pseudonym and become an anonymous online face.  Or even if they don't, everyone has instant access to sending their views to thousands or even millions of people with a mouse click.  Many use this technology to provide thoughtful views and information to the public and their followers.

Then, there are the others.

Any website that allows public comment (including this one) has commenters that run the gamut of insight.  These comments run from thoughtful and hopeful to start a debate to insulting and looking for a fight.  One such comment on this site suggested prosecutors should burn in hell. is a website that follows popular tweets and trends in the Twitter universe.  Immediately after Scott Walker survived recall, angry tweets came fast and furious.  Check them out here.  Death threats and prayers for serious injury toward someone are simply unacceptable.  Even in politics. 

These comments and reactions to stories and events are the lowest form of communication.  Anyone with a computer and email address can create an anonymous personality and spew hate from their mouth at anyone without fear of recrimination.  What happened to intelligent debate and respect for an opponent's viewpoint?  It seems that today's world is an act first, think later society.  Just think of the people who hit reply all instead of reply to one.  People have no problem announcing their first, visceral reaction to an event, no matter what it is.

The legal view - There's a line between First Amendment rights and behavior.  A person cannot yell fire in a crowded theater because of the inherent danger created by causing a stampede of people.  Death threats towards governors and presidents will raise a flag and someone will investigate, even if it was a joke.

The practical view - What are these people thinking?  Especially people on twitter who use their real name and picture?  Employers investigate a person's online profile now.  Police and prosecutors investigate suspect's facebook and twitter accounts.  All of this will come back to haunt the commenter.  Or the person that posts a picture of himself with guns or drugs.  Or the person that admits to a crime.  Or the person that threatens a victim.

Trust me, I know.  

1 comment:

  1. It is truly amazing ot me how mean people are on the internet and the things people will post for all to see without a thought. I always like to "sleep on it" when I'm angry. I might type a letter or email but I save it for the next day and usually I'm thrilled I didn't send it. Delete, delete, delete!