We have decided that for the sake of their careers, if not their well-being, congressmen and senators need to refrain from attempting to use social media without a comprehensive course in “how not to look stupid.”
The first person to sign up for that should be Arkansas Congressman Tim Griffin, who while being locked down following the tragic shooting in Washington D.C., tweeted out that the Obama administration needed to end its “violent rhetoric.” Much like a disgraced athlete or spoiled celebrity, Griffin quickly apologized, but one needs to ask if that apology was sincere. Of course it wasn’t. If he were sincere, he wouldn’t have tweeted it out in the first place.
Once again, a politician like Griffin spent too much time thinking about how he could exploit a situation on political grounds rather than just act like a human being and let a situation play out. We all found out that this horrible incident involving a mentally unstable woman had nothing to do with the government shutdown at all. But it gave Griffin a brief window to lob a useless and pointless barb at the other side of the aisle. If anything shows us that the current makeup of Congress has no ability or desire to work with each other, this tweet is it.
But it is unfair to single Griffin out in the world of social media. He is latest of a long list of idiotic people from D.C. who have inserted their digital foot into their cyber-mouth.
Former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd didn’t exactly know how Twitter worked a couple of years ago when he sent a tweet containing a lewd comment, possibly because he thought it was a private message. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich once used the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks to try and sell his historical novels.
In the era of tweeting and sharing and social media faux pas, it is easy to make mistakes. It is easy to send the wrong message or misspell a word or screw up an address. The office at the Log Cabin Democrat is still making sure we have all our ducks in a row when we are working with social media for breaking news.
But the thoughts behind a tweet are there, and Griffin’s were not a typo. His quick apology shows that he meant what he said. We can’t keep a person from thinking stupid things, but Twitter, Facebook and everything else in the Internet is not a personal notepad.