Thumper (as in Bambi’s bunny rabbit friend), was given great instruction by his daddy when he said, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, then don’t say nothing at all.” (Forgive daddy Thumper his grammar won’t you…?)
A gem of advice if there ever were; but perhaps more 2.0 fitting would be something along the lines of, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t TWEET at all!”
Aside from the reality that we’re rapidly becoming a society eagerly consumed with spewing out dialogue and emotional thoughts in 140 characters or less; it’s not even as though this heightened in quantity, abbreviated in quality, form of communication is making us feel any better.
A late 2011 poll research conducted by University of Vermont scientists indicated a downward trend in “emotional temperature” from tweeters. Their analyzing of more than 46 billion words from the tweets of 63 million Twitter users since January 2009 consisted of giving each word sliding one to nine scales of emotional temperature.
(Ex. A word like “laughter” would get a ranking of 8.5, while “terrorist”, a 1.3.)
“Once all the words were ranked, researchers looked for patterns related to the time, date, or location the tweets were posted from. And what did researchers find? That happiness, at least amongst people on Twitter, has been on the decline since April 2009. And unsurprisingly, people are happier on the weekend and less happy early in the week. Twitterers would also seem to be happier at night than they are in the morning.”
Researchers to do think that Twitter is a good indicator of happiness because it allows us to look over the “collective shoulder of society,” says the study’s lead author, Peter Dodd. “Everything we say or write is a distortion of what goes on inside our head.”
Furthermore, the same as when you audibly say your inside thoughts on the outside, they’re hard to take back. And if you’re a politician than life just got a little harder for you.
Be careful what you tweet. The Library of Congress openly admits to storing all our public tweets (for what reason I’m still waiting to understand…), but this new website, “Politwoops” aims to catalog those in the public eye, their most regrettable 140 characters. Go ahead and delete it…it’s not really gone.
Here’s the stats:
“What does the site do?
“From minor typos to major gaffes, Politwoops is now there to offer a searchable window into what [politicians] hoped you didn’t see,” say the archive’s creators. The site has tallied more than 3,000 tweets in the past six months, ranging from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) mockery of Russian President Vladimir Putin for shedding tears after the last election (deleted after 2 minutes) to one of Obama’s ill-advised humble brags on Iran (deleted after 59 seconds). If a politician sends a gibberish “pocket tweet,” boringly corrects a spelling error, or mistakenly sends a racy public message intended to be private, Politwoops will be there to catalog it.
Who made it?
The website is the brainchild of The Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to government transparency. Politwoops is modeled after a similar website in the Netherlands.
How does it work?
“The site scrapes the accounts of every politician with a Twitter account (and everyone currently or formerly running for the presidency),” says Sam Biddle at Gizmodo. When any of those Twitter accounts deletes a message, Politiwoops posts it, along with details on when the tweet was posted, how long it took to be deleted, and whether it was posted from a phone or computer.”
In other countries without rights to free speech as selectively curious as ours, some countries are outright censoring tweets where the stunted sentences are deemed in violation of local laws
“A year ago, Twitter was being heralded as a game-changing, freedom-promoting platform capable of organizing a noble revolution across the Arab world. Now, the expanding company seems to be having second thoughts about just how committed it is to unfettered, unconditional free speech. In a blog post Thursday, Twitter announced that it would start abiding by individual countries’ censorship rules by selectively blocking controversial tweets from appearing to local users. For instance, in France and Germany, pro-Nazi content is illegal; pro-Nazi tweets there will now be banned. (Twitter users in unaffected countries will still be able to see the blocked tweets.) This is a marked shift for the company, which had previously said, “Our position on freedom of expression carries with it a mandate to protect our users’ right to speak freely.””
To learn more about the discussion concerning if this international change is justified or even counter intuitive, refer to a few talking points presented here.
- Politwoops Website Unearths Politicians’ Deleted Tweets (mediaite.com)
- Politwoops, Deleted Tweets from Politicians (laughingsquid.com)
- Oops! Now You Can Track the Tweets Politicians Tried to Delete (theatlantic.com)