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A tweet to action

| Monday, March 23, 2015

A Tweet to ActionKeri O'Mara

When your team plays for something as big as the conference championship, blood starts to boil over. Temperatures start to flare and pride starts to take over as fans become part of their team, part of the game. Nowadays especially, we take to the Twitter-sphere to live-tweet our support to our team as well as occasionally dropping a bit of trash-talk to the opposition, all in the nature of good fun. This was exactly what Ashley Judd — actress, political activist and proud member of the University of Kentucky’s Big Blue Nation — was doing when Kentucky faced the University of Arkansas in the SEC conference championship.

“@ArkRazorbacks dirty play can kiss my team’s free throw making a– @KySportsRadio @marchmadness @espn Bloodied 3 players so far,” Judd tweeted from her Twitter account during the game.

This is what it means in today’s culture when one is an active consumer in the entertainment business, be it sports, theater, music or anything else: they live-tweet it. Instant reaction: raw emotion, unfiltered reactions. Communicating an experience to hundreds of thousands of followers that is as unique to you as your 140 characters will allow. Judd was tweeting her experience, how she saw the game and what she believed was happening out there on the court.

What happened in response to Judd’s sharing of her game experience is one that is horrible, yet unfortunately very predictable in today’s online-culture. Vulgar, vile tweets from anonymous Twitter accounts masking countless people’s cowardice were sent to her, ranging from a variety of hateful insults to her as a person, disgusting comments to her as a woman and even threats to her, her livelihood and her family. This paragraph alone doesn’t do justice to how horrible these comments were. Yet, should any of these Twitter users be hypothetically asked, it would be far too easy to imagine that they would say it was a “joke,” that it was all “trash-talk” in response to Judd’s own comments about the game.

As a response to all of the hate, Judd took to Mic — a website designated to reach the millennials generation — to write an open letter to all of these people. She discusses how far-reaching the effects of the horrible tweets have been, and how those responsible justified such hateful, hurtful speech.

“The themes are predictable,” she muses about the hate-tweets she has since received. “I brought it on myself. I deserved it. I’m whiny. I’m no fun. I can’t take a joke. There are more serious issues in the world.

“Grow thicker skin, sweetheart. I’m famous. It’s part of my job description.”

If this is truly the stance that Twitter users are taking to justify the hateful comments spewed in Judd’s direction, then it is truly unfortunate and a pity. Twitter, and social media as a whole, is constantly lauded as a means for the public to stay close and connect with their favorite celebrities and public figures. Instead, instances like the one seen above is a constant example of how these platforms can be misused.

The good thing, however, is that this is not an accurate reflection of people in our generation, the millennials with the power of mass communication literally in the palm of our hands. Rather, this is just an unfortunate misguided cross-section of our fellow men and women. Perhaps it’s because they don’t realize the weight behind their words, or perhaps it’s due to the seemingly inconsequential manner of their one-sided interactions. But these things do carry weight, and there are consequences, even if they’re not immediate.

Judd was a woman voicing her opinion, a fan showing her support for and doing a bit of trash-talking on behalf of her team. She shouldn’t get attacked for that. No one should.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Miko Malabute

Senior student at the University of Notre Dame, majoring in Biochemistry. From Tujunga, CA.

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