Open-Ended Twitter Q&As Are Officially a Terrible Idea

“I knew there was going to be some negativity going into it,” FSU sports information director Elliott Finebloom said regarding the Twitter disaster that was #AskJameis.

Well, yes. Shouldn’t we all know by now — thanks to Robin Thicke, JP Morgan, McDonald’s, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the NYPD and the Washington whatever-you-want-to-call-thems — that open-ended Twitter Q&As are a terrible idea?

This is especially true when applied to a creepy R&B singer, a generally disliked financial institution or player who earned a great deal of negative attention for FSU thanks to accusations of sexual assault and “stealing $32 of crab legs from a local grocery store.”

There’s no need to post the most incendiary tweets here; you’ve probably already seen some of them.

Maybe it’s the sheer volume of mockery on these ill-advised promo efforts that takes their planners by surprise. If we could convey one message about the larger Twitter community to the people behind such events, it would be that they do not withhold judgment and they do not wait for further evidence.

We’ve also established the fact that Twitter almost never provides users with an accurate reflection of public sentiment. Jameis Winston remains popular among FSU fans, and ESPN notes that “a large number of people had to be turned away from a winding line hoping for an autograph from Winston during Fan Day on Sunday” — yet if anyone on Twitter had positive things to say about him, we missed it.

Still, we think a basic equation applies to such “give us your questions/feedback” events: imagine the worst possible case scenario and multiply it by two or three.

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