In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone repeated what’s become a stock line for him: “Twitter should be considered a triumph of humanity not a triumph of technology.”
But for every act of citizen journalism on Twitter helping to foment revolution in repressive regimes or assist people in a tragedy, there are dark and depressing examples of how human nature plays out in 140 characters.
Such was the case this weekend in the Twitter feed of Clara Jeffery, co-editor of Mother Jones.
On Saturday, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, described as the the most lethal sniper in American military history, was shot and killed at a Texas gun range, reportedly by a former Marine suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
Jeffery tweeted: “So much for good/talented guy with a gun being able to stop mentally ill guy with a gun.”
But the reaction to Jeffery’s tweet was swift and vicious, soon turning misogynistic and threatening, particularly after the responders realized she had a child. You can read much of the unedited responses here (or if you dig down here).
But these are a few of the nastiest lowlights:
“Erase those disrespectful tweets now you dirtbag motherf—– An American patriot lost his life tonight. You will regret this,” wrote @HeidiL_RN.
To which one wonders, RN as in nurse????
Apparently unaware of what Mother Jones actually does, @HeidiL_RN later called for campaign to have Jeffery fired from the progressive San Francisco magazine.
he only good news in all this is that many, many people on Twitter also rose to Jeffery’s defense, offering her encouragement, virtual hugs and pictures of adorable babies and dogs.