Twitter, in my opinion, is essentially the same as me standing on a street corner and shouting out all my thoughts hoping somebody will stand next to me and either repeat what I've said or comment back. Bill Cosby enforces this by stating that "Kids need to remember that when you put something on Twitter, it's not like whispering to your friend, you've put it on a billboard that the whole world, including your own kids someday, can see" and undoubtably he is correct the internet is not only a search engine but a memory that stores just about everything you post on it in one way or another, Twitter being no exception. Users are arguably insensitive when it comes to posting content with a 'click' that we are not necessarily rethinking as it is so easy to post anything. Thinking about what you might cook for dinner, 'click', picture of you drunk, 'click', comment about a crime you've committed, 'click', opps.
In May this year (2013) Emma Way, aged 22, 'clipped' a cyclist with her wing mirror when driving past near a pavement. Instead of reporting the incident, she decided to post sparingly on Twitter:
"Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier. I have right of way - he doesn't even pay road tax! #Bloodycyclists."
This has resulted in Norwich magistrates convicted her of 'failing to stop after an accident and failing to report it.' Her hashtag "#Bloodycyclists" gave thousands of Twitter users the access to find her Twitter and send their hatred towards her of her insensitivity and bad driving. Recently, she was ordered to pay a £337 fine, £300 in costs and was given seven points on her licence.
She claims the tweet to have been a 'spur of the moment' and 'stupid' decision, but then should something she posts on Twitter be used as evidence? As a personal Twitter user I know many people use sarcasm and exaggerate the stories they share within the 240 character limit, and this is why as an active user I'm aware that not everything is truthful, reliable or accurate and so know that I can read something differently to how the 'author' intended. For example, my own recent tweet:
'Heart attack as I came out the kitchen wearing no contacts and saw a blurry @nathejenkins ... morning xD'
Obviously I didn't actually have a 'heart attack', if I did I certainly wouldn't post it on Twitter immediately. In the case of Emma Way and her collision with Toby Hockley I'm not suggesting what she says isn't true, but it can be implied that if she had indeed believed that by knocking the cyclist off his bike he'd been hurt then she would have hopefully stopped and assisted him. The reason her tweet caused such an up roar is because it has allowed the police to find her guilty through her own fault of posting it publicly on the internet for others to see and actively judge her upon.
Emily Way claims "It is the biggest regret of my life so far", therefore shouldn't we all be taught or at least learn from cases like this the importance of limited our own content on the internet? I know for example that the previous company I worked for when I applied for the interview searched my name on google and discovered my Twitter, which is public, and Facebook, which is private but are ways of accessing like everyone else's. If it's on the internet, public or private, it's out there and can be found. It's easier to post then it is to delete so rethink your content. And think of it this way, if you really had the following you crave for virtually in the real world, with everyone knowing your interests and what your holiday photos looked like, you'd be freaked out and probably feel invaded, right?
Rethink your online presence, a picture says a thousand words, but a tweet imprint your words online FOREVER.