Babblin Brooks - A cautionary tale

Posted in: Sports
By Todd Brooks
Feb 14, 2013 - 9:42:42 AM

Those familiar with the dangers of social media caution, “Think before you hit send.”
I did, but apparently not long enough.
I have a personal account on Twitter and follow close to 100 people and organizations. It is an eclectic group of professional athletes, colleges, church and faith-related accounts, and journalists – both nationally known writers and broadcasters, and regional writers who I have worked with, and those I got to know over the years.
Most of the time when it comes to the national media, I just read what they say and occasionally I might write a response. I had never received a personal response from one of the “celebrity” tweeters. The streak was broken Tuesday morning.
I follow ESPN baseball guru Buster Olney. He posted a tweet stating the Baseball Tonight bus was going to be at the Dodgers’ camp and he was going to be with the Yankees.
Shortly before reading his post, I had read a tweet about either politics or religion. I do not even remember now what it was, but it angered me a little bit.
ESPN critics like to accuse the network of having a Yankee and Red Sox bias. They do seem to cover them more than the other baseball teams. There is a reason for that – a majority of viewers watching their network are interested in those two teams more than let us say the Royals and the Mariners.
Life is not the only thing not fair, and it is impossible to make everyone happy. Media outlets have to cover the things relating to most of their listeners or readers. It is not personal, it is just business.
It did not matter in my eyes. I was miffed and ready to take it out on someone.
 I shot back to Olney, “Because, Heaven forbid, we should go a day without hearing about the Yankees.”
I thought for a second before hitting the send button. My thoughts were I had never had a response from an ESPN personality no matter how witty or insightful I thought my response was to their tweet.
I told myself, “He probably will not even read it because so many other people will respond with comments.”
Obviously my second cup of coffee had not had its desired effect yet.
I hit the “Tweet” button.
Olney sent a personal reply a few minutes later, “We did the Nationals and Giants yesterday, and will do the Braves Wednesday.”
I had not watched SportsCenter or Baseball Tonight in several days and did not realize they were doing team profiles.
I made the mistake of a knee-jerk reaction without knowing all the facts. I should have known better.
I could have tried to come back with some snide remark because one of the things not to like about social media is the anonymity where people can insult others without having to do so to their face.
Many defenders of those who receive harsh insults via mediums like Twitter and Facebook say not to post something you were not willing to say to the person’s face.
I agree wholeheartedly, but I realized I had a lapse in judgment in this case.
I decided to own my mistake and I tweeted an apology back to Olney. He had been professional. I had not.
He did not respond, and I did not expect him to. He was off to bigger and better things than having a conversation with some random guy in Southwest Oklahoma he had never met before. He had nearly 645,000 Twitter followers at last count. I have 27. I did wonder if he had seen my bio on my account or simply responded. Besides listing I am a journalist, I also mention being a Christian. I realized it was not a very good representation of who I am.
This is a cautionary tale to think things through and to get all the facts before making a rash comment. Once it is out there, there may not be a chance to take it back before it is too late.
I learned my lesson – I hope.