Friday, July 27, 2012

Death By Twitter: Olympic Edition

While the rest of us settle in to watch the opening ceremonies tonight, Greece’s triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou will likely have a very bittersweet experience.
Greece banned Paraskevi from the games this week, after she composed and tweeted what was deemed to be a racist comment from her Twitter account.  Ready for it?

"With so many Africans in Greece... the West Nile mosquitoes will at least eat homemade food!!!"
You can guarantee she regrets that one. 

Sentiments in Greece seem to be divided and reflect the opinions of a larger economic issue in the country, the influx of illegal immigrants from Africa and Asia. 

I was initially struck with what seemed like a double standard in the digital age.  I can’t help but remember just a couple weeks ago when Daniel Tosh all but threatened one of his comedy show patrons with “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped right now” with repercussions no more than an apology tweet.  What’s the difference?  How can Tosh get away with just typing an oops message and Paraskevi gets her life dream smashed? 

If there's a balance here, it must come down to who you represent.  Paraskevi was a face of her country.  Therefore, her tweets meant more than just random thoughts.  As the face of Greece in the Olympic games, she would also be the voice of Greece in the Olympic games.  And when you’re words have that weight, extra and extreme caution must be taken even in social media. 

Think before you tweet, people.

I don’t want you to be Death By Twitter’s next victim.

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