I remember those days back on the playground in 3rd grade where everyone wanted to be cool. If you got into an argument with someone bigger than you, you had three options.
- Try to outwit your opponent and win the argument (or the fight depending on how things escalate)
- Sincerely apologize and hope your opponent backs down (depending on how much you riled him up)
- Go tell the teacher
The first two options are the choices that most people make and while it was considered more cool to stay and fight, apologizing wouldn’t hurt your coolness factor too much. That #3, however, was a social status killer. Those were the kids that no one wanted to hang out with.
Yesterday I saw an actual fight (verbal fight) on the Twitter playground. And yes, Twitter really is one BIG virtual playground. Loren Feldman (@1938media) and Jessica Gottlieb (@jessicagottlieb) got into a fairly heated back and forth which sent ripples (albeit, small ripples) through the Twittersphere.
Loren is a well known video blogger and web 2.0 commentator who is famous for his lack of restraint when stating his sometimes controversial opinions. In other words, he doesn’t hold back. Jessica, from what I understand, is a Mommy blogger who has a significant following on Twitter and is a social media strategy consultant.
The scuffle began, from my understanding, when Jessica wrote this tweet.
After that, Loren replied.
What ensued was a back and forth of nasty name calling. No big deal really. A typical day on the Twitter playground. Loren doesn’t liked to get pushed around and has no problem having it out with people who annoy him. Jessica seems to be the same.
Then things changed when Jessica, in so many words, called Loren’s wife a prostitute. Loren went ballistic. Understandably so. Jessica crossed a line that most people know not to cross. I happen to have spent some time with Loren and his wife, Michelle, a couple months ago. Not only did I get along with both of them and had a great time hanging out, I found Michelle to be an extremely sweet person and it’s understandable why Loren would get so angry at such an accusation.
That accusation prompted this video on Loren’s 1938media site. The attack dogs of both followers got involved in attacking the other side (even though I think Loren’s fans seemed much more aggressive). The end result was that Jessica eventually apologized (sort of) on her blog and seems to want to move on. Loren, true to his style, doesn’t seem to back down as easily.
So what can we learn from this exchange?
- Twitter is a playground with significant cliques. Don’t mess with somebody you don’t know.
- If you do mess with someone you don’t know, expect to be hit back harder.
- Even though Twitter is digital, the traditional social rules of confrontation rules still apply. In other words, feel free to attack someone but don’t go after their family. Once you cross that line, you’ve left your family open for cheap shots.
- If you say something that you shouldn’t have, be an adult and apologize as quickly and sincerely as possible.
What I found to be the strangest part of this back and forth was Jessica’s apology. In it she wrote that Loren’s posts made her Mom cry. If my daughter talked the way Jessica did to Loren initially, I’d be incredibly embarrassed as a parent. I’m guessing her Mom crying has nothing to do with Loren’s posts. That leads us to our last lesson.
5. Don’t let your Mom read your tweets unless you’re ready for your Mom to REALLY read your tweets.
I don’t know if there will be any further confrontation between these two but if you start to see Twitter get involved, you’ll know somebody told the teacher.