Tweet Insanity

April 29, 2010  |  Uncategorized

Admit it.  If you’re a Boomer, you may still not understand the point of Twitter.  Odds are you still haven’t signed up for an account, and may drag your feet for months or even years before you jump on the blue bird bandwagon.  Many of you are convinced that Twitter will soon go the way of the dodo bird, in fact.

Now comes a story that may convince you to keep your distance for good:  Call it “The Bieber Effect”.  Even though you’re not on Twitter (egads!), you’ve probably heard via the Entertainment Tonight grapevine that teen pop sensation Justin Bieber is seeing the dark side of the instant messaging phenomenon.  (More…)

The 16 year old’s most recent gig in Australia had to be canceled after hysterical fans mobbed him.  Then in New Zealand, more hysterical fans pushed his mother to the ground and stole his trademark hat.  Before and after the chaos ensued, Bieber’s tweets were flying… engaging the screaming tweens and teens  in what certainly felt to them like a “private conversation” with an impossibly cute superstar.  Adding fuel to the publicity fire?  Absolutely.  Could people have been hurt?  You bet.

Maybe celebrities need to take a time out from Twitter.  In essence, they are manipulating young fans with seemingly “personal” messages that only wind up sending them into an even deeper frenzy.   Look at it this way… Back in the day, if technology had allowed me to get a “personal” message from David Cassidy, I would have done absolutely anything he asked me to.  Anything.  I LOVED him.  Teenage girls don’t make wise choices at the best of times… never mind when their musical tweetheart is tweeting them.  Are you listening, Justin???

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  1. Kelly – You win the prize for pun of the week… Wish I’d thought of it ;-)
    “Bitter-tweet” it is. This high-tech Tweeting is a double-edged sword. I agree… Parents have to step up to the plate to give their kids the skills they need to deal responsibly with the technology. I think the problem is time. Parents would likely tell you they don’t understand SM – don’t have the time to educate themselves – therefore don’t have the skills to discuss it with their kids – therefore choose not to have these all-important conversations. Sooooo… That’s why they need to call “Social Media Seminars”!!! Thanks for the plug ;-)

  2. Sean – You hit the Twitter nail on the head! Hollywood stars can’t cry wolf after the technology they used to get thousands of excitable girls’ attention does just that and results in pandemonium… In this case, you can’t have your high-tech cake and eat it, too… ;-)

  3. Excuse me for saying but it’s bitter – tweet! Of course we want our children to have cutting edge technology but we’re also afraid of what it exposes them too.

    But it’s not really new. It happened with rock and roll being played on the radio, television, movie theatres, concerts. Technological progression is not a substitution for parental responsibility. It is, what it is meant to be, a medium for the sharing of information.

    The problem is not kids, the problem is parents and their either inability or disinterest in providing their children with the skill sets to deal with technology and it’s pitfalls as well as its benefits.

    Unfortunately social media has given people an excuse for becoming socially challenged and handicapped. Just because the methods of communication become easier doesn’t mean the level of communication becomes more acutely aware.

    Parents. Step up to the plate. You wouldn’t put your kid’s hands on a gas burner without explaining how fire works. Why would you do it with social media?

  4. If Justin Bieber tweeted his location to all his fans and then got mobbed then he’s an idiot and so are his handlers. Don’t blame the medium for the message….or the messenger. Lots of stars are using Social Media to keep their message out there in a safe and interesting way. John Mayer is a leader in this area. His tweets are amusing and give you just enough of a peek “inside” to feel like you’re involved but he never leaves himself open to personal contact. Again, Justin Bieber is an a idiot.

  5. Dorie… I couldn’t have said it better myself… People ARE watching you… so much more than they ever did when we Boomers were young. Tapping your phone line was about the worst thing someone could do to invade your privacy back then. Now, people disseminate the most private details of their lives on Facebook — scattering them like seeds to the wind — INVITING someone to take advantage. I’ve said it before… I’ll say it again… Guess we all need to do the Hill Street Blues thing and BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!!!

  6. Lee… Awesome points, all. You are so right about this technology being a potential danger to ALL of us — not just the young. Love the analogy to “candy” — the same candy our parents warned us not to take from strangers back in the day. The internet has blinded us to the dangers of dealing with people who are often complete and utter strangers we wouldn’t think about talking to at the supermarket. Yet because these people are “a friend of my friend” on Facebook, that makes it okay in our minds for some ridiculous reason. You and Cam are right… We need to “man up” and take responsibility.
    Thanks for joining the conversation!

  7. Cam… Great point about The Who concert back in Cincinnati in the 70’s. As you know, it inspired one of only a handful of dramatic episodes of the classic comedy “WKRP in Cincinnati”. I remember it SO CLEARLY. You make a great point about technology being a scapegoat for people not taking responsibility for their children. Right on. Comes back to my point about the world returning to a “The Waltons” kind of mentality one of these days. People will realize that technology will never replace the face-to-face. Ha! Remember the cliche “face time”… another word for “meeting”? What do we have now? “Blackberry time”? ;-)

  8. Cam is right. Every parent has to take responsibilty for teaching their children right from wrong. Remember back in the day when our parents told us not to get into cars with strangers, or not to take candy from strangers? Responsible parenting involves explaining the benefits and dangers of all Social Media. It’s interesting that in the last few days we’ve learned that University Students are “addicted” to their social media gadgets, and teenage tweets can incite riots. What about the dangers of Facebook to the lonely middle-aged single, or the dangers of your long term employer finding out who you’ve been tweeting? The dangers of social media are not exclusive to the young. Social Media, Facebook and Twitter became successful because of the teen/young adult market. I am sure Justin Bieber is only following the instruction of his baby boomer marketing team, just as I am sure that teachers marking papers are taking breaks to check their I-Pods. Unfortunately, this generation’s “candy” is not a danger just to the young, but to all. As Cam stated, we all need to “man-up” and take responsibility. Social Media is something to be embraced and used with caution by all.

  9. Does this mean Gavin DeGraw isn’t really paying attention to my tweets after he became a “follower” of mine the other night? I’m heartbroken!
    I use Twitter as part of my work on a regular basis and find it invaluable for story ideas and for keeping up.
    Having said that,some celebrities are devoted to Tweeting daily, and it’s obvious others have hired someone to tweet for them.
    I can understand a frenzy inspired by tweeting in the Bieber case, although he seems to inspire a frenzy no matter what he does. I agree with the “personalized” nature of tweets being somewhat misleading, especially to impressionable young people. I suspect the same lack of forethought goes into tweets as it does in some people’s Facebook status updates.
    Since Twitter has also been used as a communication tool in protests, perhaps police follow Twitter accounts as much as they look at Facebook. It’s not hard to access invitations to parties, or even look up an ongoing dispute on someone’s photo comments. PEOPLE ARE WATCHING YOU. Remember that!

  10. I see what you’re saying, Karen. This debate has been going on, concerning very medium, for years…really, since Frank Sinatra’s bobby-soxers.
    There have always been tragedies when it comes to “stars.” Remember 11 kids being killed at a Who concert in Cincinnatti in the 70’s?
    It’s natural for people to look for scapegoats…and the media is an easy targe. Ultimately, parents are responsible for their kids. The computer/tv/Facebook/Twitter/rock music/etc is not responsible for your kids–you are.

    We need to return to a time when every individual can “man-up” and take responsibility for his/her actions–good or bad. Twitter (or any other medium) is not the reason your child can’t communicate…you are.

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