A strange thing happened to me on Twitter a little while ago.
It was at the time that the Australian Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste was being sent to jail on outrageous, fabricated charges in Egypt and I tweeted something like:
I think the Abbott govt would have made more of an effort to help Peter Greste if he worked for News Corp.
The tweet was in bad taste, but I had blundered even further by being completely unaware that the verdict had just been handed out in a Cairo kangaroo court.
It stayed up a couple of hours while I was out at the movies.
When I returned, my Twitter notification box was lit up: half a dozen people had seen my remark and hurled abuse at me – via tweets calling me an insensitive so and so.
Others had retweeted their condemnation of my tweet. The wheels – I thought – were in motion.
For a moment, I was in a blind panic. Would I suffer the fate of Justine Sacco, the PR executive who tweeted about going Africa and getting AIDS and become a social media sensation (for all the wrong reasons) and get sacked?
In a cold sweat, I frantically deleted the tweet and tweeted my apologies to the most incensed in the Twitter-sphere (Complete strangers actually).
We all made up – and life went on.
Looking back on it now, I can’t decide if I completely over-reacted or on the other hand – had defused a ticking time bomb.
I think perhaps the former: My tweet was not nearly provocative enough and it was neither racist, sexist or xenophobic, the kind of tweets that really land you in to trouble.
In fact, now I kind of wish I’d left it up – just to see what might have happened.
Andy Warhol famously predicted in 1968 that in the future, everyone would get their 15 minutes of fame. He probably never thought that so many people would achieve it via social media or reality TV?
Had I missed out on mine?