Thursday, September 30, 2010

Real Time Tweets: As if the world should care.

A Virginia-based political blogger, Ben Tribbett, tweeted real-time updates of the execution of a condemned inmate, Teresa Lewis. His tweets were retweeted more than 1,000 times and Tribbett received more than 100 new followers. The thing is that Tribbettwas not really an actual witness to the execution. His tweets readily reveal the source of his information, i.e. "Virginia Execution Protocol: 8:50: The condemned inmate is led in restraints to the execution chamber where she is seated on the execution gurney, then placed on her back,”. (Source:

It appears that Tribbett's intention was to voice his objections to Lewis' execution. And he made the real time tweets perhaps hoping he could stop it. He makes reference to a Virginia Protocol where he points out that the Governor of Virginia could stop it if he wants to but he refuses to, or perhaps he was unable to because allegedly he was on a cocktail party while the execution was on going.

People have different reasons for updating their statuses on facebook or tweeting realtime. Some overdo their updates to the extent that they do it every 5 minutes, as if people are interested of knowing what they are doing every 5 minutes. My point is that there should be a self-imposed limit on tweeting and status updates because too much might make people think you have an Attention Deficit Disorder (a.k.a. KSP).

Tribbett, on the other hand, had a sensible reason for live tweeting a delicate and controversial event. At first blush it might seem hilarious to tweet about an ongoing execution real time. It was something shocking; I couldn’t imagine how people in the old times used to watch public executions. But on a deeper appreciation, it should be noted that the intent of Tribbett was to save a life, though of a criminal. Hence, live tweets are acceptable to the extent that those were for a meaningful cause. Otherwise, why the minute per minute real time tweets? As if the world should care.

-- Gen S. (15)

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