It's as if Miami Herald columnist Fabiola Santiago read her own paper's story on a defense attorney trying to get a new trial for his client because a juror, Cocaine Cowboys director Billy Corben, mused about the mundane details of jury duty on Twitter and then muttered to herself, "Wow, what a tweeting twit."
If Santiago actually had a Twitter, and fully understood the medium, she might have Tweeted her new term out to her followers and got it out of her system. That's what Twitter is for: brain farts that don't require more than 140 characters. Instead she decided to fill her column up last week with 546 words proving why exactly she thinks Corben is a "tweeting twit." The result is probably one of the the most out-of-touch wastes of a column we've read recently in a (somewhat) major American newspaper.
Corben, who currently has over 7,500 followers on Twitter, quipped about the small details of serving jury duty to his followers. He wrote about the type of movies played in the waiting room, the crappy WiFi service and the food in the cafeteria.
In fact, these were some of the exact same things that Santiago herself wrote about last November in a column dedicated to her time being called to jury duty. Corben certainly wasn't tweeting out any big court secrets that haven't already been in the pages of the Herald thanks to Santiago herself, and at no time did he mention the particulars of his case on which he served.
Regardless, the defense attorney in the armed robbery trial has filed a motion for a mistrial based on Corben's tweets.
It's an interesting minor legal quagmire, but Santiago doesn't care so much for that. Instead she uses her column for a full-out ad hominen attack on Corben. She makes a point of using his legal name, "William Corben," like she was an angry mother reprimanding her son. She calls him "condescending," and a "bad-boy" narcissist, and chides his "stupidity" and "runaway self-promotion." Never mind that Santiago herself comes off as condescending and slightly stupid.
Worst of all, not a single bit of Santiago's painful column is particularly funny, clever or illuminating. It is seriously just a columnist rehashing a previously reported story and calling the man at the center of it names. Names that aren't even clever! "Twitting twit?" Seriously?
Reading between the lines, one also gets the feeling that the columnist doesn't really understand the Internet. She writes with a shocked tone, "Every time he posted, his followers and friends commented." Yes! Welcome to Social Media 101, Fabiola!
"He hasn't stopped posting about the case. Now he posts the stories written about him," she writes. Woah! People posting about themselves on the Internet? Apparently this is a brand new phenomenon to Santiago.
"Maybe his punishment should be that he simply goes down in history as the tweeting twit of the moment," she concludes in a baffling sentence.
Is she aware that Corben will go down as an important documentary filmmaker and not someone with a Twitter account? Is she aware he was just awarded the key to the City of Miami for his films? Is she aware that history books will not henceforth chronicle "tweeting twits" of various moments?
Of course, Santiago didn't appear to have her brain cap on too tight when she wrote this piece. If she did, she'd probably blame the defense attorney -- not Corben -- for wasting "precious time and resources, as the State Attorney's Office and the Public Defender's Office have had to research case law involving Twitter and Facebook use in court to address whether the guilty verdict should be thrown out."
If she thought it out a bit more she might have realized that what Corben tweeted was the kind of stuff one might blabber on about if they called or texted home or work to tell someone they might have to stay longer for a trial: "Yeah, the food and movies here suck, but oh well."
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She might have realized it's the exact same kind of stuff one might talk about to a new friend in the jury pool to pass the time.
She might have realized it was the exact same stuff she wrote about in her own column just months before.
But no, because Corben Tweeted about this stuff he's apparently "stupid" in Santiago's judgment. We guess she just really wanted to use the term "tweeting twit."