By Kim Thore’
“I work out every day — Monday to Saturday.” Jessica Biel
“Why is that people always try to understand estimate my intelligents?! They should never do that! I haven’t been on (cont.) http://tl.gd/u6vo” – Mary J. Blige
“No, no, I didn’t go to England; I went to London.” –Paris Hilton
“Titanic 100 years wOw. Global warming couldve saved titanic. Sad to say,” Jose Canseco
“Pandora.. Whoever you are!! Thank you!! I get tweets about you playing my music all the time!!” -Tyrese
I’ve been thinking…maybe Twitter is really a stage name for Beelzebub. Seriously people. That little blue bird emoticon that looks festive and chirpy is actually one of Satan’s foot soldiers. Trust me, you think it’s all innocuous internet fun, but there’s an agenda behind that beak. Twitter is either a venue for people to mouth off and be rude, share incredibly intimate and private information, highlight their ignorance or in 140 characters or less show they lack any true character.
Admittedly, I have a Twitter account and I use it…mostly as a marketing tool for events, and it’s tied to my Pinterest account so if you want to see thousands of pictures of Chanel jackets I can’t afford, knock yourself out. For my daytime pay-the-mortgage job, I use it like a pro—it’s an important part of our whole Social Media Marketing strategy …but after this week I am ready to use that damn blue bird for target practice instead.
Let me bring you up to speed.
A dear friend of mine who is an artist, college professor and dog lover (her dog Sterling should have his own hashtag btw) recently came by for a very short 12 hour visit on her way through town.
I met Karen years ago when I saw a pair of her hand painted shoes in a storefront window in downtown WS. They were glorious, and like Sarah Jessica Parker in SATC , I uttered “hello lover.” I got her name from the owner and we met.
I thought her work was inventive and a great way to demonstrate repurposing in fashion…As an editor of a magazine in St. Augustine I featured her designs, I hired her to paint TOMS shoes for an event at WFU and I have followed her progress as she creates size 7 Picassos for the world to walk in…I even asked her to curate my upcoming art show. In short, she is someone whom I think has great taste and is a great artist.
When she was here briefly, we started chatting about some recent design projects and she mentioned that there was a designer doing ridiculously priced shoes that she could DIY for much less $$$$. My brain started ticking and I thought, wait- I know a fashion blogger in NYC- maybe she would be interested in featuring Karen’s work.
So, I pitched the idea to my friend via email because I had lost her contact info in the whole switchover to an iPhone and that’s when I should have heard that chirping in the distance. Little did I know that my desire to help a friend get her art noticed would unleash a backlash.
Now to be perfectly honest, I know my friend in NY can go from zero to bitchy in less than 60 but I also know she has great taste and I thought introducing these two women would be a great idea. I sent an email and gave her the heads up that she may get contacted by someone regarding hand painted shoes. I even said if you’re not interested no worries—just thought you two might have mutual ground. I have always admired her for leaving the corporate world we were both in to follow her passion about fashion in NY. She is smart, talented and accomplished.
A perfect match , right?
After I hit send, I felt like I was Julie Andrews running on hilltops with arms stretched wide, not realizing a tornado was about to blow me away.
A tornado of tacky. A tornado of bad taste. A tornado of tweets.
I never got a response to my email but I just attributed that to busy schedules and endless fashion parties in Chelsea.
Then one morning this week, my phone swooshed at 6 am. I woke up, grabbed it and there was a text with a picture of a tweet. As blurry-eyed as I was, I figured the palace had announced another pregnancy or Justin had really been deported but my glee was short-lived. It was my friend Karen sharing a tweet from NY…calling her, maybe even me, out for not understanding how “rent is paid”…the basic gist was, people shouldn’t be asking people for favors.
Really? I thought it was called networking. I’ll have to remember to take down my LinkedIn profile immediately.
I was floored.
I found out via Twitter that my attempt was not welcome.
I see rudeness every day…I should be used to it but I’m not. People try to mow me and the pups down when we walk in a cross walk at least three times a week, a Barista snarked at me yesterday when I tried to verify the latte she whispered was ready, was really mine, and I am still waiting for a thank you note that is at this count about a year late. I get it that in the mayhem of our lives priorities shift but when did it become ok to be publicly rude?…and by publicly, I mean engaging millions of people?
I may use Twitter, but I don’t follow tweets because quite frankly I just don’t have that kind of time…if something catches my attention it’s usually because it has caused a PR firestorm. As I stared at the screen capture of this tweet I tried to wrap my head around what it REALLY meant.
Sure– maybe the friend whom I had sent groceries to when she couldn’t afford them was pissed. Maybe she had also forgotten that I had sent her a pair of designer shoes when she was down and struggling to find her place in Gotham. Maybe , just maybe,she gets requests hourly to do someone a “favor”—I won’t ever know, because apparently she can’t compose a simple email or call someone to unleash her ire, but give her 140 characters or less and she is Emily Post, schooling someone on how THEY should behave in oblique metaphors.
That’s ok—or is it?
When you are a public figure, you can reasonably expect scrutiny and media attention…when you aren’t Alec Baldwin does it make sense? Well that’s a bad example because I think we all can agree that even Alec Baldwin doesn’t make sense any more.
However, this small, in the big scheme of things, insignificant situation is an example of a larger systemic problem.
I blog, I tweet, I Facebook, I Pinterest but I like to believe that I also still know how to really communicate – because at the end of the day, none of those avenues are REALLY doing that.
If someone is nice to me I say thank you, usually with a card or corresponding gift, if someone is talented I try to promote them, if I dislike someone or have no use for them in my life, I stay away—it’s a pretty simple equation. If someone I personally know does something that is inappropriate in my purview, I say something about it…to them, not to as many random strangers as I can find made easy by Twitter-verse.
I don’t understand all of the obtuse smokescreens we are creating to get our point across. I’ve done it too on occasion, but I like to believe I have learned from that approach.
You see that meme on a Pinterest board and you think that one person in your life will see it on FB and change their habits…seriously?
We have stars, companies and public figures using this forum to display they can’t spell, it’s ok to say anything about any subject , be vile about people you don’t know and it appears to have trickled down as way of life for the rest of us. Do we really care about 50 Cent’s world view? Well apparently 7,412,504 people do.
I was at a media conference last year where the expert du jour said, “Twitter is this generation’s version of sending a postcard,”…great analogy and it reminded me that I missed postcards as much as I miss manners and acceptable behavior.
Speaking of which, I’m going to step away from the blue bird for awhile…I don’t think I’ll be missing much…
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