Journal

Dear Ann Coulter: Keep Our Photos Out of Your Twitter Feed

Written by Whitney Fleming

Dear Ms. Coulter:

I know it’s been a rough few days for you, having to sit with the commoners and all on your Delta flight. It stinks when you pay for something and the provider doesn’t deliver.

I, too, would be frustrated if I paid for a seat with extra leg room and then was removed without any explanation, apology or offer of reimbursement. That is poor customer service.

And with the recent events occurring on airlines, I can understand why you took to Twitter to alert your followers of your outrage.

But you crossed a line during your Twitter tantrum, one that is dangerous, and one that might even come back to haunt you one day.

You posted photos of bystanders. People merely doing their jobs or taking their seat on a plane – one they might have paid for as well. You disparaged them in front of your more than two million social media followers merely for being unlucky enough to be on the same flight as you.

I could speculate on why you may have been moved from your seat. Perhaps “the woman” Delta gave your seat to was, in fact, an air marshal, since it is not unfathomable to believe that a woman could do this job. Perhaps she had an invisible disability that caused her to need the extra space. Perhaps she just had more frequent flier miles than you.

But no matter what the reason (and I hate to state the obvious, but your ticket contract states that the airline reserves the right to remove a passenger from his or her seat or the airplane at any time), no one deserves to be publicly humiliated on your social media, forever emblazoned as a traitor to your extra leg room.

Now, I get it. You like to stir the pot and say whatever is on your mind. And although I find most of what you say morally repugnant, I believe you have every right to say it. Corporate brands are not individuals, and do not have the same expectation of privacy as private citizens.

But don’t force other people to go for the ride down your rabbit hole on social media. No one, and I mean no one, deserves that.

Social media is feeding our narcissism, fueling our ego and compelling us to “act” like public crusaders, even when there is no need. Exposing private information and photos with the intent to instigate others is a blatant form of harassment. A public “outing” on Facebook or twitter can be far more permanent than even a scarlet letter, which at least can be covered. The Internet is forever.

It is easy to tell ourselves that we are doing something in the name of the greater good, but publicly outing someone — and then trying to shame them — is not right nor appropriate.

The people you exposed on your flight did not wrong you. The flight attendant moved you because she was told to by her superior, and the woman who took your seat probably – just like you – wanted to get to wherever she was trying to go. They are victims of online harassment, plain and simple. By you, the bully. 

You are no better than Delta.

When we expose other people, meaning their photos — or even their blatant wrongdoings — on social media, we may make ourselves feel better, but that shouldn’t be confused with making a difference. And don’t be surprised when someone else — someone with a wider net — strikes back.

Keep stirring the pot, Ms. Coulter, if that’s what you so desire; but know that privacy as we know it is dwindling.

And we have you to thank for that.

Feature image via Twitter

About the author

Whitney Fleming

Whitney is the mom to three tween daughters, a communications consultant and blogger. She tries to dispel the myth of being a typical suburban mom although she is often driving her minivan to soccer practices and attending PTA meetings. She writes about parenting, relationships, and w(h)ine on her blog Playdates on Fridays http://playdatesonfridays.com/

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