Social media is big business. Some methods also mean instant disbursement of information during any event, whether it be a crime, a wedding, or a parade. Anything and anyone becomes fair game in public to be a player in a tweet or cell phone video or end up on someone's Facebook page--whether they want to be or not.

Social media is big business.  Some methods also mean instant disbursement of information during any event, whether it be a crime, a wedding, or a parade.  Anything and anyone becomes fair game in public to be a player in a tweet or cell phone video or end up on someone's Facebook page--whether they want to be or not.

In July of 2006, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams launched their "news and social networking service" called Twitter in San Francisco.   By 2012, more than 100 million users posted 340 million tweets a day,  and last year saw more than 319 million monthly users.  It now has 25 offices around the world.

According to Wikipedia, Twitter proved to be the largest source of breaking news during the 2016 election, with more than 40 million tweets "twittered" by 10 PM on election day.

The Washington Post reported that Twitter is working on a way for users to spot fake news, but spokesperson Emma Horne said although a feature is being worked on and tested, there are no plans to launch it.  VP for Policy Colin Crowell said Twitter is "working to detect spammy behaviors."

The "tweeting" of President Trump is often condemned, especially by the liberal press.  Because they can't control it, they have deemed it misleading, objectionable, and offensive, even though it might contain fact.  It's going to be interesting to see if Twitter goes politically correct and decides to block the President's Twitter account.

The only ones who really seem offended by it is the national press, as if they have never printed stories and headlines that are offensive to anyone.  It's a matter of them controlling what comes out of the White House, and they can't do it with the instant-press-release speed of Twitter, even when limited to 140 characters.

Then the ugly side of Twitter reveals itself with reporters, actors and other celebrities using their 140 characters to vilify and demonize those with whom they don't agree, including President Trump.  While accusing him of spreading hate and intolerance, they turn around and do the very same thing.

It is probably safe to say much of social media is ruled by emotion and opinion.  A wise man once told me when I write a letter to someone about something that offended me, I should never send it the same day I write it; wait at least 24 hours, maybe longer.  Then, read what I wrote, and see if I still feel the same way.  Many times I did not feel the same, and did not send the letter.  It's good advice for email and tweeting; think before you hit send.

The ability to tweet immediately what you're feeling and thinking gives rise to "unedited" expression of anger or hurt that may not be the real you.  People need to ask themselves if they would say the same thing in a room full of people, or in front of their family, or on TV.  in other words, it makes it easy for an intelligent person to say something stupid if they don't consider their words.

Whether it's the President or a teenager or the star of a popular TV show, tweeting has become a popular way of expression, easily done, but permanent when used.  Yes, tweets can be "removed" but they are like words, once spoken, they can't really be taken back or easily forgotten.

So consider what the term "twitter" meant before it became social media:  "A short burst of inconsequential information."  Don't make a big deal out of it.

Myron Blaine has lived in Hannibal since 1987. He is married and has two sons. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the Courier-Post.