Twitter has done a lot of things in the last six years since it launched from giving everyone the ability to tweet about their daily tinkle routines to social revolution, but the one thing that it seems to prove is that people do not seem to ever learn that if you put something out on Twitter it is not that different from yelling it from a rooftop.

For one, a good number of people have been outright fired or otherwise lost their jobs because of posts they have made on Twitter. I would never imagine anybody other than someone who didn’t care about their employment status going onto a rooftop to announce to the world that they were going to get a job that they hated but would get a big paycheck for it.

Similarly, a person would not just start putting up posters with photos of themselves and an announcement that they were planning on shooting up their school later on in the afternoon. Yet that is precisely what William Koberna did when he posted an announcement on Twitter stating that he had such plans.

How short is our attention span as a nation? It has only been a little over forty years since the tragic shootings at Kent State but here was a student that was threatening to do the very same thing. I wonder what was going through this student’s mind when he decided to make this announcement to the world?

The first possibility is that he somehow thought that nobody was going to read his tweet, or that very few people read his Twitter feed and that the few people that did would not take him seriously. Assuming that this was the case, we have to wonder how incredibly naive he was to not realize not just how retweeting works but that it would only take one person that followed him on Twitter to take him seriously enough to notify the police.

The police around the country are on high enough alert after the Aurora shooting. The next possibility is that he was completely serious about the threat but that nothing could possibly be done about it since it was “only” Twitter. Seeing that he was arrested, it was clearly action worthy.

Lastly, I wonder if he thought that it would be funny to play a joke on the nation. If this was the case, he deserves not the least bit of mercy. You don’t go into a TSA line and yell that you have a bomb and are going to use it, and you absolutely do not attend a school still a little raw from a real shooting and threaten to fill it with lead — even if the threats are coming from your phone and you are having a good laugh in your strange mind.

Remember that whatever you post on Twitter can be seen by just about anyone in the world with Internet access, so please be careful and Tweet nicely!

3 Comments

  1. Prescient article, Gordon, especially in light of the recent Tyson threats on Broadway:

    Twitter officials have complied with a court order to turn over account information to help New York police investigators identify who threatened to carry out an attack like the Colorado movie theater shooting at a Broadway theater where Mike Tyson is appearing in a one-man show, the police said Tuesday.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/08/nyregion/after-court-order-twitter-sends-data-on-user-issuing-threats.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all