My favorite part of the “Obama calls Kanye West a jackass” story isn’t that the president said what the rest of the nation already thought. Nor is it the groveling apology issued by ABC News after it realized Obama’s comments were intended to be off the record.
No, it’s that Nightline co-anchor Moran actually seemed to think that deleting his tweet would make the problem go away. You see, Terry, you can’t unring the Twitter bell. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. Even if you had sent a follow-up tweet begging your more than 1 million followers to ignore your Twitter “scoop,” a few recalcitrants would have ignored your plea and retweeted the hell out of it. The Twitterverse is a cold, cruel place that way.
But don’t take my word for it. I notice that among the charmed 135 Twitter accounts you have deigned to follow (BTW, you might want to work on that follower/following ratio, which stands at 7,924:1) is Twitter itself. They know a lot about this kind of stuff over there.
And if Ev Anderson or Biz Stone won’t help you, there’s always another one of your geek followers: Sen. John McCain. He only pretends to be clueless about technology (to play to the base), but legend has it that he once hot-swapped a server in the Dirksen Senate Office Building during a filibuster on a defense authorization bill. And in last year’s presidential campaign McCain reportedly showed Sarah Palin how to delete Levi Johnston’s picture from her BlackBerry.
One can picture Moran in an earlier media era trying to snuff out a public faux pas by frantically driving around Washington pulling newspapers from pay boxes or barging into homes across America to switch the channel from ABC to the Home Shopping Network. He would have had more luck doing that than turning the clock back on Twitter. Because it’s in real-time, baby.