The Slow Digital Death of Common Sense

Yes, the times are a-changing, and ever quicker, you might say, but the basic tenets of douche baggery are yet the same.

twittergate screenshot

An article ran in Saturday’s New York Times about a Broadway casting director named Daryl Eisenberg who tweeted sometimes nasty notes while holding auditions for a new play, unleashing a deluge of comments on acting web forums (each, presumably, lacking the flair and panache that will one day make each of these irate thespians a household name).

In Act 2, Einsenberg went in front of the drama tribunal of the Actors’ Equity Association union to sort the mess out and establish guidelines of proper Twitter use:

Ms. Eisenberg’s statement:

After a productive meeting with AEA this afternoon, I’m happy to report that we have agreed to both put this behind us.

By mutual agreement, future tweets will not be coming from the audition room regarding the actors auditioning.

I apologize to the actors and professionals who put themselves on the line every time they audition, and will continually strive to make the audition room an inspiring, nurturing place for creativity and talent.

I look forward to working with AEA and its members on future projects, and hope to see you all in the audition room soon.– Daryl Eisenberg

The statement from Actors’ Equity:

Earlier today representatives of AEA had a productive meeting with Ms. Eisenberg to discuss her use of twitter in auditions. AEA firmly blieves [sic] that twitter is a valuable promotional tool for producers to reach a wide potential audience but that tweeting has absolutely no place in the audition room, which is a safe haven for actors who are seeking employment in this competitive market. We believe this incident is now closed.

First of all, how the hell are these people taking themselves so seriously while using the words “tweet” and “tweeting”? It’s remarkable how quickly the silly meme has worked its way into mainstream and professional lexicons. I can’t wait for the day when companies are launching new campaigns on Doody Balls and communicating via Queefs. Or when Twitter is taken over by Flutter:

The troubling part, really, is the way the allure and excitement of a new social technology has obscured the fundamentals of social etiquette. You don’t need guidelines on how to properly utilize Twitter; you need to remember how not to be a total jack ass. The nascent medium has made sentient, rational adults revert to acting like overprivileged bratty teenagers. You got in trouble in high school for passing notes. It wasn’t because we needed to establish a set of rules for ink-on-paper, it was because you were supposed to be paying attention to your teacher. And did you get yelled at for it in college? No. Why not? Because by then you were smart enough to keep that shit to yourself. Using Twitter during auditions sits, on the Maturity Index, right next to a notebook page scribbled with “Do you like me? Yes/No Circle One.”

Folks, it isn’t like we’re talking about establishing coda for digital rights management here, or legislating stem cell research. The emerging technology is not the point, it’s ancillary. This is a simple case of common sense: Pay attention at work, maintain some level of professionalism, don’t be an asshole.

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