Just a quick note on something that’s on my mind today: the death of Andrew Breitbart has served to reinforce the belief that ones social media persona is playing an increasingly greater part in the shaping of identity — how people perceive you to be when alive, and now, more and more so, after death.
For instance, one of the first things many people, myself included, did upon learning of Breitbart’s death was to pull up his Twitter page to see what his final tweet was (in addition to, admittedly, checking for activity because myself and many others initially believed that the reports of his death were a hoax). In Breitbart’s case, he last used Twitter to call a guy who disagreed with him politically a “putz” in the tweet shown above. This was, as anyone familiar with Breitbart can attest, typical Andrew Breitbart, which I suppose is fitting, though arguably not the most graceful way to exit the stage. With that said, just about every story I’ve read about Breitbart’s death today has included a mention of his final tweet, in addition to, in many cases, incendiary things he said in tweets dating back to the time he started using Twitter.
Conversely, when Heavy D passed recently, his final tweet was also widely cited, though he was praised for it being inspirational rather than condescending and combative. People magazine’s headline on the tweet (yes, People dedicated an entire story to Heavy D’s last tweet) read: “Heavy D Sends Uplifting Final Message on Twitter”
It’s become increasingly obvious that this, a person’s “final tweet,” has actually become a thing that plays a part in how people are remembered and memorialized.
Soooo…when you’re composing that tweet later on today about how you passed a good fart on a crowded elevator without anyone knowing it was you who did it, or how Snuggies would be so much better if they included slots for legs (seriously, they would be), make sure you put your best effort into it, because every tweet could be your last. God forbid the people whose job it is to report the news of your death have to mention a tweet that doesn’t make sense, was unflattering in some way, or contains spelling errors and/or bad grammar. Their jobs are difficult enough as it is.
Also, remember this: as long as your Twitter pages remains live after your death, your final tweet is the first thing people see when they posthumously visit your page. I suppose the same could be said for Facebook status updates, well posts, etc. What we post to social media websites contributes to the legacy we leave behind now. Just something to think about.
No pressure at all, right?