Your Facebook Friends And Twitter Followers Aren’t Your Real Friends

Maybe it’s because this latest generation has grown up on the internet, but I’ve noticed lately that a lot of people do not seem to have an appropriate sense of what should be private and public information on the internet.

People whose relationship status on Facebook goes from “In a relationship” to “It’s complicated” to “single” are a running joke, but in some cases, it’s even worse: there are people who break up with their significant other by changing their Facebook status. Yes, they do exist!

Moreover, I love Twitter, but there are people who treat it like instant messenger. Not that long ago, for example, two people were having a Twitter conversation and one of them was trashing: her friend’s significant other up one side and down the other. Yes, I’m leaving out a lot of details so people won’t know whom I’m talking about and, no, I don’t even want to go into it, but I will say this: any friend of mine who talked about someone I was dating or me like that on Twitter would be an “ex-friend” five minutes after I saw it. If you’re going to poor mouth your friends or whom they’re dating, which isn’t the best idea in the first place, you certainly don’t do it in a public forum. Some things, the world just doesn’t need to know.

As bad as those things are, they don’t come close to measuring up to this:

ABC News Reports that Shellie Ross was tweeting about the fog rolling in and her chickens going back to the coop while 911 was called by her middle son @ 5:23 to report that his 2 year old brother was floating in the pool. Ambulance arrives at 5:38 to find child in cardiac arrest. At 6:12 pm Shellie tweeted and asked for prayers for her son. She had been tweeting from 8:37 in the morning, right on thru while her son fell into the pool, and continued to tweet even after his death – which I find ironic because maybe if she wasn’t tweeting, her son might still be alive.

Shellie Ross’s tweets on 12/14 during the hour her son died leading up to her Byrson Ross’s death are as follows:

Please pray like never before, my 2 yr old fell in the pool
6:12 PM Dec 14th from Echofon (she removed this from her Twitter stream on 12/16)

(5:38 Ambulance arrives to find child in cardiac arrest)

(at 5:23, ABC news Reports 911 was called by 11 year old son to report 2 year old son floating in pool)

Fog is rolling in thick scared the birds back in the coop
5:22 PM Dec 14th from Echofon (removed from Twitter Stream on 12/15)

@themorrisbunch yep almost 30 total these are my oldest ones 4 roos the rest girls
5:21 PM Dec 14th from Echofon in reply to themorrisbunch

Now they are all coming out to see what I am doing
5:19 PM Dec 14th from Echofon

One of our roosters looking out at me tonight
5:18 PM Dec 14th from Echofon

My dogs caught and flipped a tourtoise on it’s back, seems to be fine though
5:17 PM Dec 14th from Echofon

Between the hours of 8:37 a.m. and 5:22 p.m (her first and last before son was found drowned in pool) she tweeted 74 times.

If a babysitter had been tweeting all day long while in charge of a 2 year old and he drowned while she was tweeting, I doubt that the parents would say, “It’s okay, the babysitter feels guilty – we’ll let it go.”

After this tragedy, Shellie Ross has spoken and continued to Tweet, calling people @ssholes, hoping they rot in hell…but not once has she said, “I take full responsibility and I wish I could take that day back. I feel horrible and am so, so, sorry.”

But then again, even if she did say that, I guess actions speak louder than words. And her actions leading up to and after her son’s death speak volumes. She was twittering while her child died and she continues to Twitter, telling people to “Go Get Bent” and “F*ck Tards.”

If your child died because you were twittering, wouldn’t that be the LAST place on earth you’d want to return to? If this was such a terrible time and you wanted people to ‘leave you alone’ why wouldn’t you at least make your Twitter stream private?

This is turning into a big story and people are debating the whole thing: Was this mother tweeting instead of watching her child? Is she responsible for her child’s death? Are people being mean to her by speculating? Should people be taking up money for her? Should we even be talking about this so soon after her child has died, etc., etc., etc.

Here’s the thing, I can’t answer all those questions for you. However, what I can tell you is that people should use this tragic situation as a teachable moment. The lesson is this: Your Facebook friends and Twitter followers aren’t your real friends. When you blast information out to them, you’re not telling your close associates what’s going on in your life, you’re telling the whole world including anonymous jerks, bloggers, and people with very different ideas of common decency. To these people, what you’re saying is just more content, more grist for the mill, just one more thing to talk and blog about. If it’s sensitive information, something you wouldn’t want people idly discussing, then perhaps you shouldn’t put it out there in the first place. You’d think that would just be common sense, but apparently not.

PS: Shellie Ross’ Twitter stream is now protected, but if you want to see some of the “She’s a neglectful mother” and “Leave her alone!” Tweets, you can check them out here.

PS #2: If Shellie Ross does have any real friends out there who know her, the best thing she could do for herself right now is to get off of Twitter for a while. Maybe someone could clue her in.

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