President Barack Obama held a Twitter town hall yesterday moderated by Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter. A small number of Twitter users were selected to participate in the town hall. Any Twitter user could send a question to the president via the Twitter town hall participants. The town hall participants determined which questions were finally tweeted to the president.
I was not among the selected town hall twitterers. I am incensed. How could I have been so grossly overlooked? I want to know the criteria used to determine the elite Twitter town hall participants. If you read my tweets you would understand my fury at this particular injustice. My best description of my own tweets is literary genius.
Twitter limits each post to 140 characters. The tweet therefore, must communicate a lot in very few words. In other words, it is really just a contest to see who can write the best haiku. Obama was excused from the 140 character limitation. I think that’s like saying we are going to play checkers, but the president can move anywhere on the board whenever he feels like it. Normally I would beat this point to death, but I am so impressed that he ventured into the Twitter arena that I am willing to overlook his Twitter double-dealing.
The brilliance of Twitter is its instant accessibility to a widespread audience. One misworded tweet is proliferated across the globe like a pandemic. One ridiculous statement (think Weiner) has immediate impact that simply didn’t exist four years ago. It takes a certain amount of courage to step up to the plate and engage in a dynamic political conversation under the eyes of millions. One loss at the game of Twitter has grave consequences.
It has been confirmed that the Fox news account was hacked on July 4. Disturbing tweets were posted under the Fox news Twitter account inaccurately stating that Obama had been shot and killed. Twitter accounts are hacked with significant consequences. Then there are those Twitter users who only wish that their accounts were hacked. Contrary to his public statement, Anthony Weiner’s Twitter account was not hacked. However, after reading his tweets, they certainly appear hacked. If I were responsible for Weiner’s public relations I would have recommended long ago that he claim his account had been hacked.
One of Weiner’s tweet gems, “On with Rachel tonight. Gonna talk about Trump eating pizza with a fork!”
Weiner would have been better off avoiding Twitter altogether. Even users who grew up with Twitter are challenged by reasonable tweet composition. Asher Roth, a young rapper tweeted, “hanging out with nappy headed hoes.” He followed up with an apology “sorry scoot, not tryna be offensive.”
Ultimately I think waiving the 140 character limitation for Obama was a good idea. It would have been painful to read a presidential tweet, “potus tryna fix econ & defcit – what’s ur q?” I for one am relieved that our president is not the source of another Twitter controversy.
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Virginia Russell is a freelance author and writer who has lived around the world but currently calls Naples home. Follow her blog at www.theforeignwife.blogspot.com and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.