by Guest Contributor Harry Allen, originally published at Media Assassin
Two-and-half weeks ago, actor Kirstie Alley, famed of ’80s TV sitcom Cheers, Jenny Craig weight loss ads, and sashaying in her hosiery on Oprah, told me, on Twitter, that African-Americans and Italians are “more free and fun and light hearted” than, I guess, people who aren’t African-American or Italian.
When she said this, I was actually dumbfounded. Twice, it turned out. Figuring out what to say, however, became my own mini-education in talking about race.
I follow Kirstie Alley, right, on Twitter, the popular new social messaging site, and am one of over 65,000 people who do. For those of you who don’t use the service, following someone means you instantly receive the 140-character messages, or tweets, that they send out, these being the essential communicative tool of Twitter.
Any way, irony of ironies, it appears the star of Showtime’s Fat Actress is a big fan, and now a follower, of the obese rap group, the Fat Boys…
…and, when she saw their tweet, immediately followed them….
This is where I came into the story, because I looked at TweetDeck right at that moment. TweetDeck is the application I use for accessing Twitter. When it’s running, messages are continuously going through it, from any of the over 840 people I follow who are sending them.
It’s akin to, say, a Quotron, on the stock exchange: I receive new tweets from people I follow, and, as new ones come in, the older ones scroll down. So, it’s a constantly shifting flow of information. As I write this post, though I’m not looking at it, Tweetdeck is receiving new messages in the background, putting up a little flag that says how many and what kind of messages—friends (people I follow), mentions with my Twitter address—@harryallen—in them, or direct messages (private ones). The software is, actually, chirping, to let me know it’s updating the feed.
Anyway, I saw Kirstie’s tweet, and retweeted it, meaning that, since I thought it was interesting, I forwarded it to the over 2,800 people who, at that time, were following me on Twitter. (It’s over 3,600 now.):
Kirstie Alley doesn’t follow me. However, the way Twitter works, whenever someone retweets something you’ve posted, or even just writes something with your Twitter name/address in it, Twitter captures it as a mention, and you can see you’ve been spoken about. So, when I sent her tweet to my followers, presumably, she saw it, and responded to me directly.
That’s when things got interesting.
Alley sent this message to me:
I stared at the screen, not quite believing what I was seeing. (This was the first time I was dumbfounded in this episode.)