Thursday, February 17, 2011
Gone in 20 Seconds
I touched on this briefly yesterday but it's worth elaborating on a little bit: Last night journalist and dick Nir Rosen was on Anderson Cooper's show to apologize for comments he made via Twitter about the recent sexual assault of Lara Logan. He took responsibility, called himself "a jerk" -- which, as alluded to above, doesn't even begin to cover it -- and once again announced that he had resigned his position as an NYU fellow.
What he didn't do, though, is really explain why he said what he said.
And you know something? I honestly believe that's because he can't explain it.
Asking somebody why he or she posted something really dumb on Twitter -- or anyplace else on the internet -- without giving a second thought as to the consequences of those actions is like asking a four-year-old why he wrote on the wall with a crayon. The answer will always be a dispirited, "I'on't know."
Last year I wrote a piece published here and at HuffPo that took a look at whether technology had advanced past our ability to think and to control our own rampaging impulses.
Here's what I said at the time:
"Through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter -- and, yes, even through texting, e-mail and blogging -- we've removed the need for context and contemplation as a prerequisite to opening our big mouths and can now spout an opinion to each other or to the world, occasionally with dire but all-too-avoidable consequences, without giving it, literally, a second thought. We've fractured and fragmented our communication skills to fit the new model of speaking -- one that only requires 140 characters, with as few vowels as possible. Our brains haven't evolved as quickly as our ability to express ourselves. We're officially a nation of knee-jerks...
Just a decade ago -- maybe even less -- the notion of taking a little while to think things over before rendering a decision still seemed like the wisest course of action, an action in and of itself. Now? Take even a day or so to measure your options and it's considered glacial -- because 24 hours, one full news cycle revolution on cable and in talk radio and the span in which 850-gazillion tweets were fired back and forth on Twitter, is like an eternity to us. While you were sitting there analyzing, Mr. Smarty Pants, everyone else was actually doing."
Particularly with Twitter, which is a form of communication that's just about as id-friendly and as instantaneous as it gets, we can now broadcast whatever idiotic impulse we have to the entire world.
Unfortunately, as was said so perfectly in The Social Network, "The internet is written in ink." Those little words on that little screen on your smart-phone may feel like the ultimate form of ephemera, but once they're out there -- they're out there.
Rosen just learned that the hard way.