Tag Archives: social media

Goodbye Alec Baldwin Tweets

Alec Baldwin Twitter

courtesy of radaronline.com

I followed Alec Baldwin on Twitter because he is a funny guy who is not afraid to let his true opinions be known and I found that refreshing and entertaining.  And, did I mention he is funny?  In my last post, I wrote about how social media is a tool that empowers people to connect with one another and bring about worldwide action practically overnight, as evidenced by the explosion of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  But upon learning that my favorite SNL host cancelled his Twitter account following an incident with American Airlines, I got to thinking that the immediacy and extent of reach social media offers is not always a good thing.

In case you haven’t heard, the Emmy-award winner apparently refused to stop playing a game called Words With Friends on his mobile device and turn it off when asked to by a flight attendant. Since the flight was about to depart, he was kicked off and had to board a new flight a little later.  Here are some of the tweets he fired off during the incident:

“Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving. #nowonderamericaairisbankrupt.”

“But, oddly, 30 Rock plays inflight on American. #theresalwaysunited”

 “Now on the 3 o’clock American flight. The flight attendants already look…..smarter.”

 #theresalwaysunited Last flight w American. Where retired Catholic school gym teachers from the 1950’s find jobs as flight attendants”

Here is the retaliation from American Airlines via its Facebook page:

“Since an extremely vocal customer has publicly identified himself as being removed from an American Airlines flight on Tuesday, Dec. 6, we have elected to provide the actual facts of the matter as well as the FAA regulations which American, and all airlines, must enforce.  This passenger declined to turn off his cell phone when asked to do so at the appropriate time. The passenger ultimately stood up (with the seat belt light still on for departure) and took his phone into the plane’s lavatory. He slammed the lavatory door so hard, the cockpit crew heard it and became alarmed…The passenger was extremely rude to the crew, calling them inappropriate names and using offensive language. Given the facts above, the passenger was removed from the flight and denied boarding.”

And finally just for fun, here what Baldwin’s publicist tweeted as a response:

 “hey @American_AA: How come ok 4 other 1st class passengers 2 tweet while @alecbaldwin asked to leave while using his device? #hypocrisy.”

It doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong here.  The point is that somehow the need to vent and get revenge makes people forget that their audience is made up of real people, and messages cannot be deleted from cyberspace once that send button is pressed.   Another example of the use (or abuse?) of social media for this destructive purpose can be found in the article, “Hilariously Awkward Facebook Interactions,” that I originally found on Mashable.  While I have to admit to cracking up while reading these, when I got to the last one, my jaw dropped and I was kind of cringing (in case my Dad reads this, you will have to find the details of the FB post I am referencing by clicking on the link.) Had this disgruntled teenager, pre-Facebook, decided to take revenge on his sister in a similar manner, he would maybe have had to go about it like this:  sneak out of his house (remember he was punished), go to the nearest library (if it was still open – no 24 hr. Kinkos back then) to photocopy the letter he found containing his sister’s private, shall we call it “love thoughts?”, then wake up the next day and stand in front of her school handing out copies of it while saying something like, “My sister is a slut. Read on.”  I know slightly crazy, short-tempered, childish people out there exist but maybe, just maybe, the lapse in time and face-to-face effort involved would have caused this kid to realize his plan for revenge was a bad idea. Or, maybe he would have revealed his sinister plan to a friend the night before, who would have convinced him that punching her was a better idea.

People saying and doing dumb things, and fighting and blabbering about it to anyone that will listen are nothing new. But, whether you are a celebrity or random high school kid, using social media to vent and extract revenge, well, you might want to think about it for a half-second first.

P.S. Alec Baldwin posted his side of the story on The Huffington Post if you’re interested:  My Flying Lesson.

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What’s Behind the Occupy Wall Street Movement?

#OccupyWallStreet protest sign posted at OWS NYC movement

In about a third of the amount of time it has taken Kim Kardashian to get married and file for divorce, the Occupy Wall Street movement spread from New York City on September 17th to, according to Wikipedia.org, seventy major cities and six-hundred communities in the US by October 9th.  Here we are a month later and the effort is still going and has spread to cities around the world.  Fascinated by the rapid birth and growth of OWS, I did a little research to find how it all began, how it spread so fast and how it keeps going.

The Occupy Wall Street movement began by a message sent to 90,000 email subscribers of the magazine Adbusters, an ad-free publication that challenges consumerism.  The email suggested a peaceful occupation of Wall St. –tents and all- to demand an end to the influence that money has on government; “#OccupyWallStreet, Democracy not Corporatocracy” was the main message.  A crowd gathered and grew largely by people, especially the younger generation, finding out about the movement on Facebook and Twitter.   Reading the tweets and posts of the early weeks of the movement, it seems the mainstream media was missing from the early demonstrations, even with crowds as large as 50,000.  So it was by user-generated social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube, and others like Livestream.com and Reddit.com, that news, videos and information about the movement spread.  OWS also has its own website which offers daily schedules of upcoming events, along with other news and information.  So, digital methods like email blasts, websites and social media tools can be credited for sparking and quickly fueling the fire for America’s current social movement.  But that still doesn’t answer the last part of my question about how it keeeps going.  Why hasn’t the flame burned out yet?

Over the weekend I finally went to Zuccotti Park in my hometown of NYC to see for myself what this Occupy movement was all about.  I saw the wall-to-wall tents (or should I say concrete to concrete?), listened to the drumming, talked to some of the protesters, and watched a crowd of people that look like you and me organize and head out to Foley Square for yet another demonstration (this time to urge Obama not to go through with a “cash-for-immunity” deal with the big banks).  Besides the cry for justice for the “99%” others at the park, representing all races and ages, had their own agendas to promote such as:  benefits of composting, dangers of “fracking”(drilling for natural gas while potentially polluting the environment and water supplies), threat of budget cuts for senior benefits, and more.  While there were a variety of messages and people making them, the common vibe was loud and clear to me:

PEOPLE ARE ANGRY AND FRUSTRATED AND ARE TAKING MATTERS INTO THEIR OWN HANDS TO CREATE CHANGE

The Occupy Wall Street movement spread so fast and so wide because it hit a nerve among all types of people, all over the place. So while digital communication helps start and quickly advance modern social revolutions, it is the people who keep them alive.  If the issues like corrupt big bank and corporate business practices, massive job loss, foreclosures, wars, and health insurance did not affect so many lives so deeply, with little hope in sight, all the tweets, Facebook fan pages and video uploads in the world wouldn’t have saved the OWS protest from being more than just a one-city, flash-in-the-pan demonstration.

We’ve come a long way since the days of the American Revolution when riding a horse was the fastest way to spread a message.  But, the people’s ability to mobilize and will to demand justice, equality, and fair government representation has not changed.


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