When Fox 29's veteran news anchor and reporter Joyce Evans went on Twitter Sunday - she posted the tweet heard around the world.
I understand how brutal the social networking space can be. Write the wrong thing and your entire reputation is at risk. Twitter is a dialogue that allows folks to interact directly in real time so when something goes viral good or bad - it can spread like wildfire which is exactly what happened to this tweet. It literally became national news with a great deal of negative backlash. Some of it over the top.
In a recent article about the hazards of social networks, Forbes Magazine quotes Jeff Wilson, Partner/Chief Customer Experience Designer at Sensei Marketing, who argues that social media equips the average person with four “factors empowering bad behavior, particularly against companies:” (1) No Guilt (2) The Mob (3) Relative Anonymity and (4) No Accountability.
I can't imagine that Joyce Evans intentionally meant to trivialize a tragedy. I also understand how people might see the tweet as sensationalized and in terrible taste. Here's the thing. I have the benefit of knowing Evans and her work over the years. She’s a fine reporter and one of the few who sincerely cares about the community.
Everyone has the right to respond but what bothered me most was the mob mentality that Wilson spoke of and how many of the responders descended into ugly abuse. Up until now Evans only has about 200 tweets which tells me she's either relatively new to the game or like many - just ramping up. I can't say whether this was a factor but there is tremendous pressure on members of the media and entertainment to come up with a hot hook to promote page views, readership or whatever will attract attention.
This week offered a harsh lesson in the rough and tumble world of social media. Joyce Evans' only consolation may be the fickle nature of the beast. Just wait until the next selfie from Amanda Bynes or a twerk from Miley Cyrus. Then the great beast of Twitter will move on to the next big thing.
Follow me on Twitter @loraineballard (but be gentle)