Tuesday, February 14, 2012

When the whole world is watching - @theerealmc, @BobbyLibby, and the Chris Brown beating tweets

Millions of us have started Twitter accounts. When we start them, we probably think that our friends will see our tweets, and perhaps we think that others will see our tweets also. Perhaps our tweets might affect others in some way.

I don't know when MAC (@theerealmc) started her Twitter account, but she was happily tweeting away on her account on Sunday night. According to one tweet, she was alone and working:

@LikeAKii6 I know! I should just go stay with you since I'm here alone and have to stay up all night to write a paper!

However, MAC wasn't entirely focused on her studies. Like all good multitaskers, she was doing something else at the same time - in her case, watching the Grammy Awards, retweeting a few things that others were saying, and tweeting on her own.

It appears that MAC was around when Chris Brown started his performance, which was a return to the Grammys after an absence of several years.

First she tweeted:

Chris Brown is beyond sexy..seriously

Then she went on and made a little joke:

Okay id let Chris brown punch me in the face...

Then a new artist appeared on the TV, and MAC commented:

Don't look too excited T.Swift damn...

MAC continued to comment on the Grammy Awards all evening - some praise here, some criticism there. But after a while, someone else tweeted and mentioned @theerealmc - a tweet that MAC retweeted herself:

#DUMBEST girls inAmerica! http://wp.me/p2deAz-2y #ChrisBrown #womanbeater @LICKdaFREAK @kiebs @TheeRealMC @KaylaMarieWatts @briquirkk @carmnem

You see, MAC wasn't the only person to make a joke about Chris Brown's beating of Rihanna. Several other people did also, as can be seen on the page where I first learned about @theerealmc's tweet, a page entitled "25 Extremely Upsetting Reactions To Chris Brown At the Grammys." What these twenty-something people didn't realize at the time, however, was that in a matter of moments, the whole world would be watching.

And all of a sudden, people were taking @theerealmc's joke very seriously. So much so that she tweeted the following later that same evening:

if another stranger tweets me about my chris brown tweet which was a joke im going to scream! #GoAwayCreeps

Things hadn't calmed down by the next day, February 13, when MAC tweeted:

Seriously stfu about Chris Brown and go punch yourself in the face for being so annoying about it. #Annoyed

Later that same day, MAC began feeling like a victim. And unlike Ken Ehrlich (who, probably unknown to MAC, made his own inappropriate comment about how "we [the Grammys] were the victim of what happened"), MAC actually has a better case.

My gosh these people need to stop bullying!

It's worthwhile to post a reply that MAC received:

@TheeRealMC maybe don't joke about violence against women next time! The Internet is forever, enjoy your trolling! #deserved

And the tweeter, @BobbyLibby, was on a tear that day, sending TMZ pictures of the beating to several of the jokers. One example:

@ohfuckitscasey @WhitneyElliott2 http://ll-media.tmz.com/2009/02/22/0219_rihanna_photo_beating_ex_01-1.jpg HHAHAHAHAHAHAH HILARIOUS Y'ALL ARE SO FUNNY LOOOOOLLLLL #internet #lifechoices

The rationale, of course, is that it's OK to ridicule someone with words who jokes about physical beating. But at the same time, @BobbyLibby apparently didn't think about the fact that he was making his own permanent record.

@WhoFrewDatHam There are about a dozen things I should be doing at work but instead I'm angrily tweeting all these girls.

I wonder what he would have said if his supervisor at work happened to see that very tweet?

"Uh...it was just a joke."

But @BobbyLibby does have a point - everything that we type online has the potential of becoming public, and in the oddest circumstances, has the potential of becoming viral...for better or worse.
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