Weighing in on the bad taste bandwagon, we’re reprinting the tweet heard ’round the Twitterverse by designer Kenneth Cole. Cole took advantage of our favorite self-promotional social media tool earlier this week as the unrest in Egypt rose to riot stage and did the unthinkable (to the social media police). He pitched his product.
Yes, it was tongue firmly planted in chic. And it unfortunately crossed the line that separates it’s okay to be silly, irreverent, a bit politically incorrect and semi-ironic (only works half the time with 140 characters) probably because a) he’s a big shot and b) what’s happening in Egypt just isn’t funny.
For instance, if some kid designing belts in his bedroom made the same post probably only his 93 followers would have seen it.
And, if the government overthrow was happening in some third-rate banana republic, where a karaoke singing dictator and his glitzy consort had embezzled billions to maintain their lifestyle while the rest of the citizens had been subsisting on guppies – well, it depends on your sense of humor, but that’s funnier than Egypt.
Twitter is an amazing window into the world when news is breaking. In its short lifespan we have gotten second-by-second breakdowns of natural disasters and political uprisings. We’ve been kept up to speed on the careers of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber (not to mention the multitude of D-Listers and celebrity impersonators like Maybe Charlie Sheen). We’ve been invited to play along with trending topics (#yourmomma) or the seemingly forgotten (#followfridays) and to contribute to the newsfeed (like Kenneth Cole did with #Cairo — oops). We’ve been pitched new products and invited to sneak previews and been privy to some incredibly personal (and often pretty boring) activities of people we have never met.
Twitter is a random crapshoot that you can only tweak so much into a serious and reliable form of “newstainment” based on who you follow (and who they follow and so on). Those of us who advise people on how to use social media tend to use the standard, “Don’t post anything you don’t want the whole world to see.” It’s become a pretty hard and fast “rule”, one that even a middle school student can grasp. And yet it’s amazing how much people do want us to see. Kenneth Cole proved nothing this week other than he is a shameless self-promoter. But you knew that already, didn’t you?