Honesty on Twitter Always the Best Policy?

This week further revealed the new reality of public figures being social media users, when Supernatural actor Jared Padalecki voiced his honest reaction to learning of Philip Seymour Hoffman's death on Sunday.

Now removed from his Twitter account, Padalecki posted this observation:

" 'Sad' isn't the word I'd use to describe a 46 year old man throwing his life away to drugs. 'Senseless' is more like it. 'Stupid.' "

Padalecki took heat for this tweet, but he wasn't the only actor to say what he really thought:

LeVar Burton responded to a follower who didn't like an earlier tweet about Hoffman with "Not cool is shooting up when you got kids...#areyoukiddingme"

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Let's recall that the second stage of grief is anger. More people than Padalecki and Burton likely reacted to the news of Hoffman's death with similar outbursts. We may have bumped into the same responses while chatting face-to-face with co-workers and friends.

However, we don't know those people as public figures, and we are following Padalecki and Burton on social media.

I think it's not a bad idea for Padalecki to realize he distressed people with his comment and then took it down. However, he then tried to rephrase what he meant, and back-pedalled somewhat. Burton simply owned his reaction, which I respect.

It's always good to use the count-to-ten rule when tapping those letters into your keyboard and pressing 'post' or 'send'. More so when you are an actor on a running TV series. We may live in a free country, but the village mentality has truly gone global in 2014 -- remember what happened to Justine Sacco.

Who's that? you may ask. Just ask the PR firm for whom she once worked.


Do you tend to tweet first and count up the consequences later? Do you avoid social media for this very reason?

Photo by Helen Tansey
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  1. You grabbed my attention, and got me thinking.

    I'm always careful about what I put out there on Twitter, Facebook, my blog, emails... well, almost always. I assume that everyone is going to read/hear/see what I do. I got burned by an oh so clever note I wrote in high school when it was seen by the target of my humour. This was a friend and I was devastated that I hurt him. As a result, I was willing to eat crow, which I think is what Jared Padelecki was doing.

    On other occasions I've taken the flack, LaVar Burton, because I meant what I said the way I said it.

    I'm not perfect and I still slip up, especially when I get sarcastic, but do I count to 10 before I send? Sometimes I count to 20.


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