Social Advocacy & Politics: Strangers on a Train and Other Twitter Problems
Michael is on a train traveling at 120 mph talking with a reporter on the phone giving an interview, as an unnamed source, on US national security policy. Tom is on the same train, live tweeting Michael’s interview from the seat just in front of Michael. How long will it take for Michael’s interview and identity to go public?
The answer, much to Michael’s chagrin, is immediately.
While the news was buzzing with the Jofi Jeffries / @NatSecWonk story coming out of the White House National Security Council, Twitter lit up when @TomMatzzie outed former NSA Director’s “anonymous” background interview while taking Amtrak’s Acela train. While Jeffries was getting fired for snarky comments about our national security policy, General Michael Hayden was exposing real inside information to the public albeit, as current Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in the Hashtag of the Year, #NotWittingly.
In a remarkable turn of events, America’s former chief eavesdropper had the eaves dropped on him. What kind of spy has sensitive conversations on a train surrounded by who knows who?
Matzzie says Hayden was talking about spying on foreign allies: “On Acela: Hayden's comments to press were clearly about NSA spying on foreign allies. #haydenacela”
On Acela: Hayden's comments to press were clearly about NSA spying on foreign allies. #haydenacela
— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 24, 2013
Unlike @NatSecWonk who was simply using an anonymous Twitter account to insult his colleagues and their work (yes, it got him fired… not because he leaked any secrets, but because he was an idiot), General Hayden wasn’t even using Twitter. He was being used by it.
As some people worry about risks to their privacy if they use Twitter (frankly, these are overblown worries), the real risk to your privacy is other people documenting your activities on their Twitter feed, Facebook wall or blog. We now live in a world where we are probably more likely to be captured by someone using social media than to be caught by a surveillance camera.
As I often remind people, “These days, it’s all secrecy and nooooooo privacy.” (Mick Jagger, 1974).
PICTURE OF HAYDEN AND MATZZIE AFTER MATZZIE Tweets Hayden’s “anonymous” background interview: https://twitter.com/JeremyJ/status/393483493482987520/photo/1
Other tweets you should see:
Social Advocacy & Politics is a weekly, exclusive column for Social Media Today by Alan Rosenblatt that explores the intersection of politics and social media. Look for the next installment next Tuesday morning.
Alan Rosenblatt, Ph.D. is a social media and online advocacy strategist, professor & thought leader. He is a partner at Turner Strategies, the co-founder and convener of the Internet Advocacy Roundtable; Ombudsmen and co-founder at Take Action News and an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins, American, Georgetown and Gonzaga Universities, where he teaches courses on internet politics. He was ...
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