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Here’s a tweet: Be responsible

When I first heard about the structural damage that occurred a few weeks ago at North Harrison Middle School, the uproar surrounding the incident didn’t involve the safety of students or potential costs associated with a pending repair.
No, the first cries of despair were from my sister and her friends, who just couldn’t believe those poor middle-schoolers couldn’t return to the building to retrieve their cell phones. To make matters worse, the building shift happened on the Wednesday before fall break, so students would be without their cell phones for exactly four days and four nights. I can’t imagine how they survived. My first reaction was, wait, middle- schoolers have cell phones? Why? Aren’t they like 8 years old?
If that wasn’t enough to make me realize cell phones and their accompanying social networks are taking over the world, just last Tuesday evening, Dick Vitale was screaming in his usual tone about not having service in the new KFC Yum! Center in Louisville so he could tweet while also working as a color commentator for ESPN. That’s right, 71-year-old Vitale upset about being unable to tweet.
Speaking of twitter, it definitely provides a plethora of information at a speed previously unknown. It also allows those who use the network to know things about people they’d otherwise never have a chance to hear or see. For instance, former University of Kentucky football coach Rich Brooks averages somewhere in the mid-80s for a round of golf (he plays almost every day) and he also had some sort of issue with his pond this summer.
I know that if I ever visit Sarasota, Fla., one place I’ll have to go is the Broken Egg restaurant. Vitale raves about it on at least a weekly basis.
twitter provides the latest, breaking news in sports, politics and almost everything else.
It also gives people another easy avenue to vent frustration, and, a few minutes later, they have to apologize or ‘re-word’ what they said. I’ve lost track of the number of athletes who have tweeted something directly following a game about the home fans, coaches or opposing players that later had to be retracted. It’s just the nature of the beast, as they say.
But, one reaction called ‘bizarre’ recently occurred because of the twitter-cell phone-text message relationship. Bill Nye, you know, the ‘Science Guy,’ briefly collapsed before giving a speech about climate change at the University of Southern California. Much to the surprise of those sitting in the back of the auditorium, the students nearest to Nye did nothing to help the 54-year-old scientist. Why, might you ask? They were too busy tweeting about it.
‘Nobody went to his aid at the very beginning when he first collapsed ‘ that just perplexed me beyond reason,’ Alastair Fairbanks, a senior at the event, said. ‘Instead, I saw students texting and updating their twitter statuses. It was just all a very bizarre evening.’
Definitely not the type of reaction we hope twitter inspires, but, thankfully, Nye regained consciousness a short time later and tried to continue.
Another story, this one tragic, was also first learned about in a crude manner via cell phones and twitter. Comedian Messy Mya was murdered in New Orleans last week. After he was shot and on the ground, a crowd gathered around him and a few folks whipped out their phones and took pictures and immediately posted them on their twitter accounts. Journalism classes spend entire sessions debating whether to publish similar newsworthy photos in the newspaper. With twitter, there’s no debating; just click and send and worry about the repercussions later.
All of these technological advances are great, and the amount of knowledge at our fingertips is truly spectacular. But if someone’s first reaction to some sort of event is to pull out their cell phone, not to call for emergency help but to update twitter, then we may have a problem. The sharing of information, both personal and otherwise, comes with a responsibility that should not be taken lightly.