The average citizen may not be on Twitter, but the average politician, journalist or activist is an entirely different story, meaning that plenty of news breaks via tweet instead of press release. But sometimes, the news isn’t quite what the tweeter intended.
Before the year slips away, let’s do the Twitter time warp and revisit the most memorable local tweets of the year.
The Top 2 Twitter Fails
• In August, local state Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez captured a photo of five legislators “drinking and singing on the Capitol balcony,” as columnist Ruben Navarrette puts it. “She then proudly posted the photo on Twitter at 11:19 p.m., with the caption: ‘Loving my Latino Caucus boys.’”
But by the next morning, one of those party-hardy legislators — local state Sen. Ben Hueso — had been arrested on DUI charges. As Navarrette puts it, “the love was gone — and the photo deleted from the legislator’s Twitter account.”
Gonzalez later told a reporter that “I got myself in a lot of trouble using #Twitter.”
• In September, congressional candidate Carl DeMaio went on Twitter to tout his hiring of a San Diego State student as a “regional political director.” Journalists quickly looked up the student on Twitter and found a bunch of sexist, anti-Semitic and racist remarks. Within hours, the tweets were deleted and the student was down for the (140-character) count.
Best One-Word Smackdown
“Karma.” — DeMaio, who’d been accused by Hueso of masturbating in a City Hall restroom, after the legislator was arrested.
Most Clickable Tweet of the Year
“How Duke Cunningham’s puppy selfie helped him gain his freedom.” — U-T San Diego on a story about the release of the disgraced congressman.
Unclear-on-the-Concept, Twitter Division
Twitter is for disseminating 140-character messages, not 4,400-word governing documents. But never mind: Rep. Darrell Issa, a high-profile congressman who represents a chunk of North County, tweeted the U.S. Constitution last summer over six long hours to celebrate Constitution Day.
Meanwhile, countless Twitter users celebrated Temporarily Unfollow Darrell Issa Day.
Best Use of Eminem Lyrics
“I can’t provide the right type of life for my family/ Cause man, these goddamn food stamps don’t buy diapers” @Eminem — inspiration #ab1516’” — Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez on her bid to help poor women afford diapers.
Most Lucrative Use of Twitter
For a brief shining moment last spring, several people with money to spare invented Twitter accounts like @hiddencash and @sdcashstash and started leaving envelopes of cash in various locations around San Diego and California. They’d tweet hints about the locations and wait for the hordes to descend.
Life in San Diego in 140 Characters
• “I just enjoy being annoying. The main reason I created the bots was that I didn’t have time to do all this trolling myself. So I thought, why not put Twitter to work?” — an anonymous Twitter denizen to CityBeat in March on a bunch of fake Twitter accounts that mock local GOP bigwigs by automatically retweeting tweets about topics like “pooping.”
• “Relieved not to have to wear a #Bengals jersey at my next press conference, even though I look amazing in animal prints.” — then-Interim Mayor Todd Gloria in January after the Chargers won a playoff game against Cincinnati.
• “Dude, we always thought YOU smelled funny, too.” — a May tweet from UCSD’s Ché Café, a “worker co-operative, social center, and live music venue,” in response to my own tweet mentioning that “my college newspaper had offices right next to Ché Cafe. It smelled funny.”
• “soo hungry need to find my wife and head to pf changs” and “pf changs is so good” — 2007 tweets from @Chargers, the San Diego Chargers Twitter account, as discovered by the news site SB Nation this month. There are several tweets like this that “appear to be official dispatches from an NFL team” but are anything but. “I hope they never disappear,” an SB Nation writer says.
At Last But Not Least: Crime Time, Twitter-Style
• “‘Can you confirm? She’s wearing the Cookie Monster outfit or the 1 year old is?’ Dispatch: ‘No. She is.’” — a December tweet from @sandiegoscanner, which live-tweets local police scanner chatter.
• “Fight over beer w/ at least one being very drunk. And a victim ‘struck over the head with a candy cane.’ Of the large yard decor variety.” — a seasonal December tweet from @sandiegoscanner.
And on that note, let all of us at VOSD wish you a happy tweet year.