Blaming Twitter – Tom Daley

Tom Daley - Olympics Twitter

An insensitive fool sends a tweet to British Olympian Tom Daley telling him “he let his dad down” , after Tom and his synchronised swimming partner, Peter Waterfield narrowly missed out on medals at the Olympics yesterday.

Tom’s dad Rob passed away in 2011 from Brain cancer. How dumb was that tweet? ….then again, how often do we hear people saying dumb things?

The tweet is dominating the Sky Sports News headlines this morning and authorities are going to “conduct an investigation“. On the way into work I heard they have the tweeter tracked down and he is going to be called in for questioning …for a dumb tweet, now that is also fairly dumb!

This whole incident will open up the debate and the inevitable conclusion by many, will be that Twitter is to blame.

This story reminds me of a debate I have regularly with a friend of mine who was a very prominent broadcaster a while back. She gives out about social media, doesn’t see the point of it and is generally very sceptical about its whole existence.

I remember one particular day she rang me all enthusiastic as she finally had great evidence that would prove her point of view. The famous singer Sinead O’Connor had just tweeted that “she was looking for a big hairy man“!

I just pointed out to her that Sinead O’Connor has always had a tendency for saying strange things – now she just has another place to say them!

Twitter is an open platform (you can control this with your personal settings but most users leave their profiles open) where everyone can tweet whatever they have to say – Yep, often this does include quite dumb stuff!

Celebs, sports personalities and even politicians use it to boost their profiles, to make a point, to promote events or products. They can get a huge benefit from it if they use it properly. Mere mortals like ourselves and that dumb tweeter can also jump in there, lap it up and punch away at our keyboards pushing our own little messages out there, whatever those might be.

Like everything else in life if it’s interesting I’ll listen and if it’s not I won’t – if that person is an insensitive fool or I just don’t like them I can simply block them.

Tom Daley did the right thing and retweeted what that fool had said and easily exposed his “dumbness” – that was the very best way of dealing with the situation. As I write Tom Daley has 783,041 followers on twitter – I would call that job done!

So, forget the further action by the authorities, forget the twitter bashing, embrace that we do live in a free society where we are free to speak.

But remember if you say something dumb, a lot of people can get to see it …

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion with offices in Cork and Dublin provide social media training and consultancy

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