By Peter K. Lam
If you’ve been reading or watching some news the last few days, I’m sure you are well aware of the tasteless actions Kanye West did on stage while Taylor Swift was giving her acceptance speech. It was rude and disrespectful. Many have criticized West for what he did, even President Obama. President Obama was preparing to do an interview when the subject of West’s actions came up. President Obama referred to West as a “jackass” without really knowing what possible ramification that comment would have. Terry Moran, a former White House correspondent overheard what was said and promptly released a tweet which said, “Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a ‘jackass’ for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT’S presidential.” With tweets about President Obama’s comments running wild, they were deleted but it calls into question journalistic integrity and responsible use of Twitter.
A lot of people that use Twitter are the type of people who want instant gratification. This applies to those who tweet as well as their followers. Celebrities and regular users are pretty much able to say just about anything and not worry too much about backlash. Some celebrities have more impact on public opinion than others so when they say inappropriate things, the fallout not that bad. Journalists and politicians, on the other hand, must be very careful about what they say. The people who started tweeting about President Obama’s comment really should have thought things through before release the information to the masses.
With technology like Twitter, information spreads even faster than ever before. It only takes mere seconds after a tweet is released for followers to start commenting. That’s exactly what happened with the tweet about President Obama’s comment. Twitter is a powerful force in cyberland that isn’t showing any signs of fading popularity. As the user base grows and more professionals adopt the tool, guidelines should be in place to help prevent this kind of thing from happening again.