Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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Tech Talk

Once-sweet tweets now tout hate


One constant with every holiday season is the TV “Christmas special,” and this year NBC’s “Sound of Music Live” was easily the biggest. While most viewers enjoyed the broadcast with simply a cup of eggnog and a roaring fire, a good deal of the audience “hate watched” it. These nefarious TV viewers shared the experience with millions of others by partaking in the social virus known as live-tweeting.

Twitter is hands-down my favorite social network. The ability to immediately exchange information with others outside your social network is extremely powerful. One byproduct of this immediacy is live-tweeting, where one or several Twitter users post a series of tweets detailing a live event. In its short history, live-tweeting has been used for a handful of truly historic and informative events (i.e. the 2012 election, the death of Osama Bin Laden, etc.), but more recently, many have hijacked it for what could be considered evil.

It’s no secret that the Internet can be a really ugly place. Snark, sarcasm and other ugliness can be found on practically any site that allows commenting, however it appears when strangers want to share an experience virtually, a sizeable portion of them want to trash it. “The Sound of Music Live” was trending on Twitter almost as soon as the broadcast began, and, within minutes, viewers were live-tweeting the show. Some were celebrating the occasion, but the vast majority were trashing it for bad acting and its general awkwardness, a practice that was quickly coined as hate-watching.

It would be one thing if this was the only example of live-tweeting gone awry, but it seems more and more to be the prevalent use. In recent months, the most note-worthy live tweets were about a reality TV producer slandering a woman on a plane and a woman live-tweeting a traffic jam that turned out to be caused by her husband’s fatal car crash.

I’d love to believe that the future of Twitter is a pleasant one of shared experiences, but with the Olympics coming up, I fear it’s more likely a space for bullying and vulgarity. CV               

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Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. For more tech insights, follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb.

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