Two wrongs don’t make a tweet?

This post has been buzzing around in my head for awhile, and something that happened yesterday has motivated me to put finger to keyboard.

Twitter is kind of freaking me out. I think that unless you use twitter, you don’t understand how…powerful it is. Its not just people tweeting what they had for breakfast (although that does go on).

Businesses, and people can thrive or die on Twitter. Dooce tweeted to her 1 million plus followers when her washing machine broke down and she had trouble getting it fixed, and Whirlpool was right on it. This probably has something to do with the number of followers she has though. I have a friend who was treated appallingly by a store in Northcote and wrote about what happened on  twitter and facebook. Followers and friends wrote to the Northcote traders association who apologised and took the emails to the lady and spoke to her about her behaviour.

So businesses should be at least monitoring what is said about them on Twitter.

Other businesses like Crust Pizza run a ‘free pizza Friday’ competition, where you tweet in ‘I’m entering @crustpizza #CrustFreePizzaFriday on a Friday to win free pizzas. They tweet probably hourly throughout Friday morning, then at about 2pm announce the winner. By which time you’re craving pizza. Well, not really. But I’m sure that’s how its supposed to go on some level.

As I said, its quite powerful.

Yesterday when the man and I went to the supermarket to pick up dinner stuff I saw a young guy park in the disabled car park and run inside. We walked right past his car and I noticed it said ‘company fleet’ on it, and he had ‘p’ plates. There was no disabled sticker to be seen, and he seemed to be walking and running fine.

I took a photo of the number plate and the company fleet sticker and tweeted it, and mentioned the company. Didn’t even think about it. Just did it. Bam.

After checking replies I saw that someone said ‘sick of the moral police dobbing everyone in’. They whinged for a bit, and I realised they were talking about me. Then they unfollowed – I don’t have many followers so I do notice. I was pretty peed off, for a second. Then I remembered this person is pretty snarky in most of their tweets. They continued to whinge about me. So I unfollowed them and now I feel much better.

But. I know a LOT of people who use twitter to express this kind of outrage. A lot of people who read this blog even. Dodgy drivers, pizza deliveries, concreting mishaps, car stereo system issues – I could list more.

Is this wrong? Is there a line?

I’m not a law expert but there is slander and libel which I guess applies here. As Dooce has a million followers, Maytag/Whirlpool were galvanised into fixing her machine quickly, but they could have easily sued her instead.

In the ‘olden days’ if you were sufficiently outraged about something you’d write a letter, which only the company would see. But most likely you’d forget about it or wouldn’t have bothered. You might have told your friends about it. The company I’m talking about has a significant online presence, I have no doubt someone would have picked up my tweet.

I guess you just have to be careful on the internet, its a bit like being back in the playground. You should be careful about who you pick on.

What do you guys think? To dob or not to dob?

This entry was posted in Etiquette with Jentopia. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Two wrongs don’t make a tweet?

  1. Agreed – it is a tricky one. I don’t like to see others do the wrong thing. I am glad you feel strongly about what you saw too. But I guess you can’t assume whether the man had a disability or not – it may have been an invisible illness/disability. In any case, he should have had a sticker on the car, or not parked there.

    If I saw something that was morally/ethically/legally wrong (that wasn’t directly happening to me), I don’t know whether I would say anything to the offender’s face. But I may consider commenting about it online.

    As for the online space being a lot like a playground – agreed, too. I have seen some VERY immature bloggers and twitter users, and immature actions. Sometimes I want to comment and say I don’t like their behviour, or S/HTFU, but I refrain to maintain my own online integrity. It can be hard to separate yourself from online and offline. The lines blur. So much of what we do online transfers into our offline life. Like how we met yesterday. But there are some people who take their online personas and lives very seriously, and sometimes this can become like playground spats. I’m not saying we shouldn’t take our online persona/life seriously – we need to be mindful of how we portray ourselves so it doesn’t damage both our online and offline reputation, but probably don’t need to create public online arguments or de-friending or slander.

    There is a blog I’ve been reading lately where the comments are so hateful towards a certain commentor. It’s like an online gang.

    This is an interesting post.

  2. PS – the power of the web is a remarkable thing, especially when it comes to businesses taking action, or people rallying support. Look at the Northcote shop situation I experiences, as you mentioned. I also tweeted about Telstra and Optus about my phone line being cut, and got replies from them both. I don’t know whether public complaints are slander though – if you state the facts and not make emotional statements, then maybe it’s not.

  3. Raelene says:

    People will always have an opinion. I think having a whinge like you did, really is a harmless vent. I would do same. I read the blog page on the issue with the Northcote store owner, and I applaud the fact that the store owner was bitch slapped (not literally)
    Like you, I’m over idiots. I think you have done the right thing in ‘un-following’ that person. Remove the link from your life and you can happily ignore them. They can happily have their own rants, and their audience can pay attention or do as you did and ignore/unfollow.
    You can’t control the idiots, but you can control your reaction to them. I think what you have done has just shown how much more mature you are.
    PS By all means, dob in the fashion you did. I think it does little harm and lessens your stress!

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