Imagine how much different the Trump presidency would be if Trump didn't have an affinity for early morning rants on Twitter?
Let's face it - Twitter is much more dangerous than other social media platforms. The difference between Twitter and other platforms like Facebook or Instagram is that Twitter is where you go to publicize your most recent thoughts. In sports, people tweet about the most recent foul call or touchdown. In politics, you tweet your immediate reaction to a breaking news story or a witty response to Trump's latest typo.
But for many, myself included, Twitter can be a dangerous place where, too often, you tweet first and think second.
This week it was Roseanne's racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett. Whether or not she was on Ambien, there is no doubt Roseanne spent much time thinking about whether or not to send that tweet. She just...did it. And within a few hours, her show was cancelled and hundreds of people associated with the show lost their jobs.
I've been guilty of getting caught up in the moment and tweeting something that I didn't mean, much less give real consideration. It's so stinkin' easy. Most times it's using unnecessary expletives after one of my teams lose. But sometimes, it's more serious. A few weeks ago, as the news was breaking that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had been accused of sexual assault, I immediately tweeted that it smelled like the work of Trump confidante Roger Stone, who infamously exposed the sexual escapades and ultimately brought down the political career of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. In that moment, my first thought was political, which, is kind of my world. But that's no excuse. My first thought should have been about the women. After about 2 minutes of the tweet being up, it was. And it hit me - "Tyler, you're an idiot." I get that feeling a lot. So I deleted the tweet. The reason I'm revealing this mistake in judgement is to demonstrate that people don't mean everything they tweet. Tweets lack context and they almost always lack thoughtfulness. Now, I'm not making excuses for Roseanne - racist is racist and she has shown a pattern of that. She deserves what she got. But sometimes public figures, politicians, athletes, musicians and average people get itchy twitter fingers and tweet something they shouldn't. Does that make them bad people? Of course not. But it means we all have to be more careful in using the most dangerous social media platform in the world.
For the sake of everyone on Twitter, I propose three changes to the platform:
1. An "Are you sure you want to tweet this" prompt would likely cut down on 50% of everything I tweet. I'd like to think the same goes for most people. This would save all of us a lot of headaches. It could even save the President of the United States from impeachment.
2. Edit capability. Like Facebook, you should be able to immediately edit a tweet. Sometimes your words don't come out right and neither do your tweets. You should be able to take a mulligan.
3. Getting rid of the "Like" feature. People get caught up in how many "likes" their post gets. As a result, they tweet things that is more likely to get a rise out of people. We already have the "retweet" option, why do we need some arbitrary form of approval from people we've never met?
There is no denying that Twitter is a great tool for communication, but one should always proceed with caution before they press that Tweet button.