By: Lauren Manecke
Many of us, including celebrities and news organizations, have taken to social media to express our thoughts, spread news quickly or ask polls. But what happens when a prominent person or source tweets something wrong? It goes viral.
This past week, The New England Patriots found this out the hard way when they tried to celebrate having one million followers on Twitter. By celebrating, they reached out to their twitter followers and told them they would thank them with a custom digital New England Patriots jersey. The jersey was a photo of the back of a Patriots jersey, and instead of having a players name, they put the fan’s Twitter handle (one’s name on twitter).
Having an automated reply to those who retweeted their tweet, the Patriots did not think through the type of Twitter handles some people have. A Twitter user with the name @IHateN****ss retweeted the tweet, therefore the Patriots responded by putting that name on the back of the jersey along with a tweet saying, “@IHATEN****SS Thanks for helping us become the first NFL team with 1 million followers! #1MillionPatriots.”
The tweet was on the Patriots account for about an hour until it got enough attention that someone noticed it and removed it. They sent an apology tweet out shortly after, but the point is, it was still tweeted and circulated the internet. The difference between a “plain Jane” account with around only 300 followers and a verified account with over a million, such as the Patriots, is that it gets noticed faster. Not only does this make the football team look bad for tweeting this, even though it was an accident, it puts the person with the racial slur account in the spotlight as well.
Unfortunately, incidents like this happen more often than not, though they are not as extreme as the one I just mentioned. In November 2012, Oprah Winfrey wanted to tell people that the new Microsoft Surface Tablet was one of her favorite things so she tweeted, “Gotta say love that SURFACE! Have bought 12 already for Christmas gifts. #FavoriteThings”. The only problem? She tweeted this off of her iPad.
The internet has a growing presence and all eyes are on celebrities and news sources, especially with sites like Twitter. With how often people are checking their phones to see what is happening around them, things get noticed faster than ever. People need to be aware of what they tweet because their followers are interested in what they have to say, whether it is for gossip, news related information or to catch mistakes to make them look bad.
Just because someone is in the spotlight, do you think it is okay to point out their flaws like this? What do you think could have been done to stop the New England Patriots’ tweet? Have you ever noticed a tweet like this? If so, what did you do? Do you think these kinds of tweets get blown out of proportion?