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Twitter As A Character Assassination Tool

September 23, 2012 | Social Media |

When people air private grievances on social media like Twitter, it is not uncommon for one side’s friends to join in and either defend their friend’s honor, or lash out at the opposition, and it often devolves into sophomoric “he said, she said” drama apropos for seventh grade, but hardly suitable for adults. In fact, it is abusive for onlookers to see an ally being assailed by a gang and worse than watching a nasty lover’s quarrel in public. Ultimately, it makes visiting Twitter very uncomfortable.

For the past month, a cadre of users this author follows assailed a popular Twitter personality known as Shoq, and for whatever reason, it has turned into a concerted effort to assassinate his character with serious charges of abuse. Because there is an important election a few weeks away, it is time to bring the drama to an end and to help assuage the situation, the abusive Twitter-gang  will not have their names exposed, but anyone familiar with the drama will recognize the players.  This is to stop this madness, not denigrate anyone .

A few weeks ago, someone sent a link to a post containing a recording that was most certainly Shoq, and except for a word men are forbidden to use, it sounded like one side of a lover’s quarrel. From a journalist’s point of view, four questions immediately came to mind. Why was this sent, what is the context, when did this occur, and what precipitated the message on the recording. Unfortunately, the post contained nothing to answer those questions and within a week,  the private recording was the impetus for unrelenting attacks on Shoq; before long, he was being impugned as an abuser of women.

It is not worth going into particulars of the drama just now, but except for that one inconvenient word in the recording, there was nothing denoting abuse. For those who have spent time speaking with Shoq, his voice, inflection, and intensity on the recording were normal regardless if the subject is music, politics, or the weather. It is too bad the history and context that precipitated the recording and subsequent assaults are not public, because they reveal there is an entirely different story that belies the “Shoq is an abuser” meme.

It didn’t take long to comprehend why the recording was made public, or why, 7 or 8 months later it was being sent furtively around twitter; particularly to Shoq’s  friends and acquaintances. One thing is certain; there is so much more to the story than a one-sided response to a cyber-girlfriend, and it did not happen out of the blue. Further, anyone who claims they never, in a moment of anger, shouted or used language they later regretted is a liar. It is typically human, but saving a recording for months and using it to malign anyone’s character is abusive to anyone associated with Shoq or the group impugning his character. It has been a major source of aggravation to log on to Twitter and instead of a concerted effort to win an important election, there is a concerted effort to malign a strong Progressive voice

Here’s the deal. If you don’t like Shoq, unfollow and block him; in fact, block anyone who is tired of machinations to assassinate his character, because that is what this drama is about. Let’s face it, keeping a recording for 7-8 months, spreading it around Twitter, and sending it to his friends with no context except “Shoq is an abuser” serves no useful purpose except to malign his character, and it is curious why one-time close friends are joining the fray.

Here’s what happened in a nutshell. A cyber-relationship came to an end. One party kept an 8-month-old angry exchange to use as a weapon. The battle was joined, and now there is an alliance intent on character assassination; frankly, what should have been private is ruining more than a few Twitter users’ experience. For those unfamiliar with the intricacies of the drama, there are reams of data portraying the attacks on Shoq as a concerted effort to malign his character and in all honesty, a lesser person would have laid bare the entire drama weeks ago.

This is an appeal for a semblance of decency. It is detestable to see malicious tweets maligning anyone, but especially a good friend and strong Progressive voice.  The past few weeks on Twitter have been abusive, and all because of a private matter where one man used a word no man is allowed to utter.  It is time to give everyone a break, and if the abusers could get their heads out of their fabricated conspiracy for a second, they might notice there is a very important election that needs every strong Progressive’s voice; including Shoq’s.


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Comments (5)


  1. Tammie says:

    Thank you for this posting. As an outsider who had followed @SHOQ and many who were attacking him, I finally had to unfollow his attackers. Whether their claims were legit or not, I just got tired of the relentless bickering that seemed to just come from one side. Besides, a cyber relationship? A little over the top for a virtual argument.

  2. Ask Anthony Weiner or David Wu which is more important – being a decent person or voting “progressive”?

  3. Shoqme says:

    I am a douche bag. I am an abuser and I am a liar.

  4. [...] A strange convergence of interests would like the progressive Twittersphere to keep discussing Twitter user Matt Edelstein (aka @Shoq) and his ex-girlfriend Jessica (@vdaze), who has triggered and fed an unprecedented campaign of character assassination now entering its eighth week. [...]

  5. EveningStarNM says:

    Yeah, but where’s the fun if we can’t assassinate someone’s character? If we can’t do that, then we have to actually think about things, use our brains, find meaning in our own lives, do useful things, and try to be the better than we are. That’s a lot of work! /snark

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