Since social media came into our lives, any kind of news, gossip, hearsay or total bullshit has the ability to retweet, like or tag its way into the timeline of everyone around the world.
Say something hilarious on twitter and you might up your follower count from 15 to 400 in a matter of minutes. Say something offensive and you could have the same outcome. Either that or you might receive some offensive tweets yourself. And if you are an asshole, well, you deserve it, troll.
On Sunday there were two big news items for the day. One that Paul Walker, of Fast and Furious fame, died in a car crash. The other was that Supermodel Miranda Kerr and Billionaire James Packer were dating.
Sunday was a big day of WTF.
Needless to say, my Twitter Timeline was pretty much filled with Paul Walker condolences by day, followed by comments, mostly sarcastic, about the PacKerr romance by night. Twitter was going berserk.
And while of course I know how ridiculously fast news travels with the phenomenon that is Social Media, it never ceases to amaze me just how fast and furious (excuse the accidental reference) it really can be when 140 characters of interest just circulate. And circulate.
And its not just news that travels. Its bad service at a coffee shop, food poisoning at a restaurant, a cockroach in a hotel, a punch-up or DUI involving someone high profile, a bad game on the pitch (and as a wife of a sportsman, I am particularly sensitive to these ones) and so on. The days of word of mouth are O.V.E.R – its all about what you say online and whether you are brave enough to be yourself or hidden behind a keyboard (coward) is another thing altogether.
And once its retweeted, well, you can’t find better advertising for your words, scathing or otherwise.
Of course, Social Media isn’t just about bad advertising. It can be great too – take for instance Serial Compliment Retweeters. You know the ones – the ones that retweet someone saying how stunning or clever or talented or gifted or amazing they are. I guess some see it as self-promotion and I suppose for some it works. For others though, err, maybe not. If one positive retweet is followed by 33 then I think we get the picture. You are fabulous. And those 33 retweets *might* just have granted you an unfollow #sorrynotsorry.
My point behind the rambling is that words are Big. Huge. Massive. Important. They can make or break someones business. They can hurt a family (I mean, if Miranda Kerr’s child was old enough to read, you can bet your Victoria’s Secret Undies he would be frantically searching her phone for texts from James P.) They can get you fired. They can make you popular or despised.
With the internet, we have the power. For most of us, we use it well. For others, not so.
Words can be kind and cruel. And they are also beautiful, descriptive, necessary and can paint the picture of your choosing.
We can only hope we can keep most of them, true.