KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas teenager who wrote a disparaging tweet about Gov. Sam Brownback is rejecting her high school principal’s demand that she apologize.
Emma Sullivan told The Associated Press on Sunday that she’s not sorry and an apology letter wouldn’t be sincere.
If you don’t know this backstory…here’s the deal.
This is a silly little story. Hopefully it will get bigger, as folks realize how disturbing this whole turn of events actually is.
UPDATE: This ended well.
“My staff overreacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize,” Brownback said in a statement Monday. “Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms.”
The reaction exemplifies what Bradley Shear, a Washington, D.C.-area social media attorney, called an example of the nationwide chasm between government officials and rapidly evolving technology.
“This reflects poorly on the governor’s office,” Shear said. “It demonstrates their P.R. department and whoever is dealing with these issues need to get a better understanding of social media in the social media age. The biggest problem is government disconnect and a lack of understanding of how people use the technology.”
Brownback’s office declined to discuss its social media monitoring in detail, but politicians and governmental offices across the county are increasingly keeping an eye on the Internet for mentions of their campaigns or policies, not unlike the way newspapers and television broadcasts have been watched for decades.
I hate it when “personal responsibility” folks blame things on their staff…which ostensibly are following their orders and protocols.
There was a curious statement later in the follow-up, I’d like to highlight…
The Shawnee Mission School District said Monday it was no long seeking a letter from Sullivan.
“Whether and to whom any apologies are issued will be left to the individuals involved,” the statement said. “The issue has resulted in many teachable moments concerning the use of social media. The district does not intend to take any further action on this matter.”
And the most important one here is that government is watching you. But the lesson now is not one of fear, but one of action: Don’t watch what you say, watch what they say, and then what they do…and if you think they #blowalot, let the world know.