Some people will do anything for attention. For those who like to be the center of focus, Twitter is just another tool that helps accomplish this. The social media site has been used for many different purposes, from supporting causes to breaking news, but one of the most common is feeding egos and fulfilling the crave for attention. With features such as “favoriting” tweets and “retweeting”, there is the potential to gain acknowledgement from thousands of people at once. While most of the attention-grabbing tweets are harmless, there are some people who have taken it too far and ended up facing the consequences.
According to the Twitter Help Center, a retweet is defined as, “re-posting of someone else’s tweet.” (Twitter). To retweet someone else’s tweet is the ultimate compliment in the Twitter world; it tells the author that their work was so enjoyable or interesting that the retweeter wishes to share it with everyone that follows them. To put it in simpler terms, the more retweets your tweet gets, the better or more important it was. It is a confirmation that you are indeed interesting and have grabbed the attention of someone.
For people who enjoy having the focus on them, retweets can become a lifeline. With the strong cravings for these re-posts, some users have begun actively campaigning for them. For example, there have been a number of people who have offered to streak at various sporting events for a certain number of retweets, such as this guy (Sherman, 2013). Although this led to an arrest, it was relatively harmless compared to other retweet campaigns. In February 2014 a young man was arrested after live-tweeting his robbery of a house (Peebles, 2014). This involved him offering to commit different crimes for retweets, such as “20 RT’s and I’ll break in this [person’s] crib” and “15 RT’s, I’m take this [person’s] xbox” (Peebles, 2014). To no surprise, this promptly led to his arrest (which he live-tweeted as well). The entire sequence of events can be viewed here.
Even more recently, a man was arrested after posting a photo on Twitter of a sniper rifle in a window with the caption, “100 RT’s and I’ll shoot someone walking” (Clancy, 2014). The arrest was made before any damage was done, but not before the author of the tweet gave a lesson in stupidity and inhumanity.
The need for attention and immediate gratification is reaching new levels as technology continues to cater to these desires. While most of the retweet campaigns are harmless (albeit annoying), some have shown a dark path that should be avoided. Hopefully the arrests of the two aforementioned people will have similar-minded Twitter users thinking twice.
Clancy, K. (2014, March 14). La man arrested for tweeting out a pic of him with a sniper rifle saying “100 rt’s and i’ll shoot someone walking”. Retrieved from http://www.barstoolsports.com/nyc/super-page/la-man-arrested-for-tweeting-out-a-pic-of-him-with-a-sniper-rifle-saying-100-rts-and-ill-shoot-someone-walking/
Peebles, M. (2014, February 24). Kid live tweets himself breaking into home to steal xbox, promptly live tweets his arrest. Retrieved from http://philly.barstoolsports.com/around-barstool/guess-that-ass-646/
Sherman, R. (2013, July 16). The ballad of the fan who ran on the field at the all-star game for twitter. Retrieved from http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2013/7/16/4530344/mlb-all-star-game-fan-streaking
Twitter. (n.d.). Faq’s about retweets (rt). Retrieved from https://support.twitter.com/articles/77606-faqs-about-retweets-rt