Is Twitter creating a generation of tattletales?

Tattletale writing on chalkboardThe “incident” happened on Saturday afternoon. I was enjoying an off day from work watching the Toronto Argonauts play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in an important game for both teams.

Even though I wasn’t officially working, I still enjoy watching live sports and chatting on Twitter at the same time. Sometimes, I think the inventors of Twitter created it for fans to chat during games. But I digress.

In the midst of my conversations on TweetDeck, up popped the “egg” avatar from a faceless tweeter. The question: “@jaimestein brink has a pink wrist band on left wrist. Is he going to be removed from game and fined by the cfl? That’s their threat right?”

The tweet was referring to the CFL’s policy of not permitting players to wear pink on the field this month.

The “egg” had three followers and an agenda. He was tweeting at media and CFL personnel about Winnipeg’s quarterback wearing a pink wristband, which is not allowed under league rules.

Within a few minutes tweets starting pouring into the CFL twitter account questioning Alex Brink’s participation in the game with a pink wristband. The questions were from both fans and media.

In this era of shooting first and asking questions later, I racked back my PVR for several minutes before I could find some video of Brink on the field to confirm these accusations. Sure enough, he was sporting a Livestrong-type bracelet that was pink.

The Bombers were notified of the infraction during the game and Brink was asked to remove his bracelet.

This series of events led me to wonder whether Twitter was turning our generation into one of tattletales; the same kids we wanted to smack in the mouth in the playground when we were younger.

To understand this situation you must understand the rivalry of the fans in the CFL. Last week, a prominent member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders made very clear in the media and on Twitter his feelings about not being allowed to wear pink during the game. This prompted the league’s response to essentially say he would have to sit out until he removed the pink from his uniform.

Fast forward to Saturday and it was fans of the Roughriders calling out the quarterback of their bitter rivals from Winnipeg.

“Anyone else notice that Alex Brink is wearing a pink wristband?” said one fan on Facebook. “Funny how other players were told they would be fined and kicked off the field until it was off and he just get’s to go out there with no consequence. Seems a little fickle to me.”

Other fans felt the tattletale was being fickle: “Gosh, don’t go rat on the man dang!!! Let him wear it!!! Lol,” responded another fan.

By the end of the weekend all sorts of speculation about a conspiracy theory was brewing online because of a tweet from a person with three followers. Talk about going viral.

It is worth mentioning that Brink, a fellow tweeter, also weighed in on the matter the day after the game.

“Really man??” was his response to the following tweet: “@CFL wondering why you haven’t taken any action against @AlexBrink10 for wearing a pink wristband on the field.”

As Saskatchewan fans continued to jump on Brink and the CFL for the quarterback wearing pink, Winnipeg fans fought back and defended their quarterback. It made for an entertaining 24 hours.

However, while Twitter can bring people closer together and create great conversations and connections, I find it sad that it is also contributing towards turning our world into a nanny state.

In this day and age, you cannot make even the slightest mistake without being called out on it. And that is an unfortunate consequence.

While this anecdote illustrates just one example of a tattletale tweeter, it happens daily for large companies and especially with elections as we have seen in Toronto over the past months.

I am all for openness and disclosure, but we have to draw the line somewhere. He may have taken it to the extreme, but in the world of NBA star Carmelo Anthony, no one likes a snitch!

Lessons Learned:

  • Every tweet on Twitter has the potential to go viral. Do not discount a tweeter based on the number followers he/she has.
  • We are all under increased scrutiny in this day and age. Adjust your behavior accordingly.

About Jaime Stein

Jaime is the Senior Manager, Social Media at Hootsuite. He is a digital marketer with expertise in social media and content marketing. His experience stems from leading the social media strategy for two national brands. Jaime holds an MBA with a focus in Marketing and Strategy from the Rotman School of Management where he was selected valedictorian by the students of the Morning MBA Class of 2011. He is the former radio voice of the Toronto Argonauts and currently lives in Vancouver with his wife and two sons.
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11 Responses to Is Twitter creating a generation of tattletales?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Is Twitter creating a generation of tattletales? | Lessons Learned with Stein Online --

  2. Kim Fairfield says:

    Well if Brink had to take off his bracelet, then all the other players who wear them should have to remove theirs as well. Mountains and molehills and sour grapes, IMO. Mind your business, y’all. Perhaps these fans were poking their noses somewhere else instead of having to face the fact that their team has tanked the last 3 games. Just sayin’

  3. People in the public eye WILL have opinions stated about them-fact. A person tweeted their opinion & another ‘writer’ or tattletale, yourself, gave yours. I don’t see the difference, other than finger pointing. I usually groove on your work-this is a bit harsh in my mind. But we ALL are entitled to our opinion.

    It does indicate that all are fair game on these social networking sites including the media – so all you people tweeting out there, remember that and give your opinion sparingly, or be prepared to get your tale told.

    Thanks for the reminder Jaime! 🙂

    Have a great week all!

    • jaimestein says:

      Thanks Sharon. Always respect your opinion, even if it makes me a tattletale! I guess I was bothered by the fact that the original complaint came from a Tweeter with no photo or bio. I believe that if one is to throw stones, they should at least put their name on it.

      I think @JoelReilly said it best: “fact is as much as ppl are “transparent” online, they can also hide behind a profile. it will only get worse sadly”


      • Wayne Reeve says:

        Jaime I don’t know where you are trying to come from with this b.s. My name is clearly on it and I have no problem with people knowing about my opinion, and even critiquing me for it.

        However you resorted to nothing more than trying to be a schoolyard bully by attacking me personally as well as what I tweeted knowing full well that I had no medium to respond to any of it, and I can tell you here that you have no facts to base your accusations on and they were false.

        The tweet you received was from @WayneReeve and the fact that I have no bio pic is what upsets you? I will get on it and add one tonight perhaps. My bio is quite simply an avid CFL fan, and my twitter account is basically just to get CFL information as I can, as well as the other outlets I use.

        If I had an actual way to retort as publically as you decided to attack me I would gladly type my own blog up too.

        Wayne Reeve

  4. Great blog Jaime. Social media in general is creating a big brother type of society, where someone is always watching, and where normally quiet individuals become cyber police of what is right and wrong in the world. They feel no fear about having to face the people they are ratting out.

    Even in “Bra-gate” supposed “friends” of Henry Burris couldn’t resist throwing up the pictures of Burris at a private function.

    In a way, it’s a good thing if it makes people think twice about their actions, but it is sad that every move you make is now open for the world to see, if someone with a cell phone or a laptop has a problem with it.

    • jaimestein says:

      Good points Brian. I think one thing we need to be particularly careful of in the sports realm is that when asking athletes to open up and become more fan friendly we don’t push them away by exposing what they are up to away from the game. Otherwise, an athlete may feel burned and close up completely.

      Thanks for posting comments!

  5. Loved the blog Jaime. The sports world tends to be filled with tattletales and I wonder if it is social media, or sports fans in general. Maybe it was because we saw our Mom’s freak out about little Jimmy being offside and heaven forbid let that gain of a yard in peewee football go. While I do believe the CFL is a little silly to say all players cannot wear pinking, knowing full well what this awareness month may mean to some of them, I don’t understand the “he did it” mentality. Seems a little school yard to me.

  6. Sichere Geldanlage in Deutschland says:

    As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

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