Are you easily manipulated? I am quite sure you answered no to my question but if you are a Twitter user then chances are you have been manipulated and led to anger by someone’s tweets. Think about it, were you one of those people who got suckered into championing a cause off of Twitter only to find out later that you were wrong?
I’ve noticed something about Twitter and I am sure that many of you have noticed it too. Twitter has become the staging ground for passive aggressive attacks and for goading celebrities into responding. As a writer I know all too well how easy it is for people to mistake my intent and miss out on context whenever I write. Throw in my cynical and sarcastic wit and you get a huge divide between those who get it (and laugh) and those who go ad hom in the commentary to try and hurt me. I cannot imagine how celebrities assume that their 140 characters would not allow blogs and bored media personnel to go National Enquirer on them but every day yields a new sucker that gets fed to the hive.
If one person takes something the wrong way, tweets it, and it goes viral, it suddenly becomes a blog post on every website and now that person’s misunderstanding becomes a problem for the celebrity. Rappers and “Black Twitter” (yes that is a real thing) have had that relationship for a long time and it is so sad that it reminds me of a children’s playground. Remember the days on the playground where someone starts a rumor that Kid A said something about Kid B and so Kid B is pressured into fighting in order to defend his/her honor? This is what Twitter reminds me of with the hive being the instigators and the kids being the celebrities.
The latest push for blood in the arena has been one that involves rapper Kendrick Lamar and a verse he did on Big Sean’s 7-minute track called Control. In the song Kendrick Lamar lets the world know that he aims to be great, to be not only the King of the West Coast but of New York too. He then names off a number of talented young rappers who he knows and respects and issues them a challenge to step their game up. His words were as follows:
…got love for you all but I’m trying to murder you niggas, trying to make sure your core fans never heard of you niggas, They don’t wanna hear not one more noun or verb from you niggas…
Sounds harsh to the casual hip-hop fan, but to us old heads the only line in his devastating verse that people should have taken away is this one “I’m trying to raise the bar high”. What did Twitter take away from this song? That Kendrick Lamar went full on Tupac Shakur and wants beef with everybody! That is what Twitter took away from it. Do a Google search for “Kendrick Lamar Control” and look at all the sites that have jumped on the bandwagon.
The worse part of twitter taking this and running with it is that misinformed writers for publications like USA Today repeat it without providing any research, insight, or attention to the source. Why would they though? People will read it, assume it to be true and join the other kids in the playground telling Kid B to fight.
The same thing was attempted when Jay-Z mentioned Miley Cyrus in a song, his words were “somewhere in America Miley Cyrus is still twerking”, which was a warning to the old guard that their racist, backwards thinking and control has alienated their children (like Miley Cyrus) and black culture is no longer this foreign ideology that they can ignore. Twitter took it as a diss to Miley Cyrus and a million blogs popped up asking how Miley felt about her “diss”. Good thing Miley Cyrus actually has a brain and acknowledged that Jay-Z was actually giving her love.
People, why are you so easy to manipulate? With as much information as we get in this information age, why is it that 140 characters can make you bypass looking into things, doing a bit of Google research, and/or checking the source of the tweet? Why are you okay with being a drone?
The next viral tweet, fake news about Nelson Mandela’s death, or racist names given to Chinese pilots that you see go viral, do yourself a favor and spend a minute looking into it. That one minute will save yourself the embarrassment of retweeting racism, helping misinformation become viral, and looking like an asshat to your followers. Don’t just click a button and react, THINK!See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.