Monday, December 19, 2011

Social Media Faux Pas

Two days in a row now, we've been taken aback by social media faux pas.  On Thursday, about 3 am, four young people were tragically gunned down just north of Claresholm on Highway #2, an unspeakably evil act.  As we were travelling to Calgary that afternoon, twelve hours later, I thought that the easiest way to get up-to-the-minute details on the highway closure would be on Twitter - the AMA being notoriously slow to update their road reports.  I "follow" about seventy news sources all day long on Twitter, and occasionally broadcast my own inspirational "tweets" to all two dozen "followers" of mine, so I'm used to it as a quasi-dependable ultra-fast news source - everything gleaned thereupon taken with a large grain of salt however.  Sure enough there was a "hashtag" (#Claresholm) established where locals were providing the latest info on the tragedy, so I hung about waiting for someone to indicate the status of the highway.  A seemingly decent young lady (you never really know, I suppose) tweeted the question about the highway being open before I could, so I awaited a response - which fifteen minutes later had still not come.  Undeterred, I tweeted "Can anybody tell me if the highway through Claresholm is open yet?"  Almost instantly I was attacked thusly: "Four people won't be spending Christmas with their families this year, show some respect!"  Ouch!  To which I responded: "I just asked a simple question".  No response followed.  You see, my mistake was in treating Twitter as a news source when in fact the vast majority of people treat it as person-to-person shout-out to their close circle of friends.  Nevertheless, I felt bad that I had offended someone.  That feeling lasted about 10 minutes - until I read the profile and recent tweets of my attacker (apparently his "carpet smells like a Motley Crue concert").  Lovely.