Dec 18, 2009

Twittered Toddler Death Immediately Converted into Flame War [Shut Up, Twitter]

Shellie Ross lost her two-year-old child when he drowned in the family swimming pool. She tweeted about the incident, hoping for emotional support. How do you think that went?

Like other blogging networks, Twitter is nothing if not a massive judgment machine, and users pounced on the chance to render a verdict on Ross, a mommy blogger and avid social networker: Her tweeting was inappropriate; her tweeting was a natural way to seek comfort; and, inevitably, her tweeting caused the death. The last is the thesis most prominently advanced by writer Madison McGraw, who tallied 75 tweets from Shellie on the day of the death, prior to her son slipping into the pool:

Anyone that has ever spent any time on Twitter knows that answering replies and sending out messages can literally eat up your time... her son... might still be alive if Military_Mom interacted with her son like she interacted with people on Twitter.

Of course, this is the sort of thing people have always whispered behind one another's backs in even the smallest, most tightly-knit of communities. Now people will just scream these accusations in your face, online. It's enough to make you nostalgic for the old biddies.

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