In the aftermath of the Roland Martin Superbowl Twitter debacle my thoughts are trending towards divergent places not much traveled. While the debate continues to rage on as to whether or not the statements made by Mr. Martin were of a homophobic nature and or incited violence and people’s dander’s get up over this I am inclined to ruminate on other related matters that no one (as of yet) seems to have touched on.
This was the ultimate Twitter nightmare. It can be argued that a clear understanding of how twitter works, and what it’s reach is might have helped avert this situation. Even if he himself was unaware those around him – or there should have been some around him with an understanding of social media networks, Twitter especially since he frequents it so much.
How is it in the African American community who has such a high rate of users on twitter and other social networks, that it appears many are unaware of how this level of engagement TRULY works? There are some that know, but silence appears to be golden. Not so golden for Mr. Martin and others who have fallen prey to errant tweets. No one in this dimension can lay claim to the intent behind words on a screen. Technology is good but it is not yet that good to determine whether or not the text you see on a “screen” is authentic and any more realistic than the device you use to connect in the first place.
The backlash was somewhat expected and even more so when one contemplates the fact that there are many of his co-workers and fellow journalists that are part of the LGBT community – at best this spells hostile work environment. The backlash TO the backlash was to be expected as well there has already been a Facebook page/group started in support of Roland Martin (Bruhs for Roland Martin)
Understandably, there has been a measure of what would be deemed an angry response from members of the African American community who feel that Mr. Martin was scapegoated, and or unfairly treated in this case. One wonders if any of those folks realize the kinds of contracts one has to sign in order to work for any organization of that size and magnitude and especially be in the public eye. Contracts often contain morality clauses or clauses that stipulate that if one’s behavior is not perceived to be in line with corporate policy – it is grounds for termination or breach of contract.
One also wonders if those screaming about the unfairness of Mr. Martin’s suspension have ever considered the creation of a news organization or media outlet LIKE a CNN and that would be minority owned and provide an alternative for individuals such as Mr. Martin so that situations like this would be non-issues.
With very little competition organizations can craft and execute whatever strategies they wish with very little impunity. Having choices allows for more opportunities for fairness to exist. Having few choices means someone or some group gets to dictate to everyone else.
In the end, regardless of the “side” you may wish to take – reality says there are no sides because we are all humans in the end warts and all. Bad jokes or statements aside we still all bleed and we all feel. Not knowing Mr. Martin personally, the human side of me can and does feel compassion for what appears to be a situation that got quickly and totally out of hand. For all those celebrating this turn of events be careful what you Tweet or say online. The job/life you save may be your own.