The deaths of disco legends Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees and Donna Summer brought out the best of society on social media. Just kidding—Twitter users even managed to rewrite history by declaring that Donna Summer sang “I Will Survive.”And then didn’t survive.
Should there be an understood system of etiquette for Twitter when celebrities die? We say yes, and so do a few of our readers on Facebook and Twitter. Here are a few tips, paired with some reader gripes, for our ongoing “How not to Behave Like a Jerk on Social Media” rulebook project.
1. CONFIRMATION, PEOPLE
Duh. Remember when Jon Bon Jovi, Eddie Murphy, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Cosby died? No? That’s because they didn’t. Twitter rumors spread unfortunately quickly—don’t be part of the problem. Investigate for a few minutes before hitting “send” on that tweet.
Before you say RIP 1st you got to look into it by all media, & if it turns out to be true, then we give acknowledgment. -@EricMFelton
2. GOOGLE IT
I don’t know who the majority of Twitter grew up with, but nobody named Donna SummerS was the queen of disco. You have the entire Internet at your fingers to double-check these things. Do that.
I’m always the first to jump on a #TooSoon joke, but at least make sure your comment has to do with the right celebrity. -Vince Lifonti
3. COOL IT ON THE SNARK
A celebrity death, by and large, means one thing: commencement of a race to be the first one to tweet something snarky, witty and hilarious. You will probably NOT win this race, so save yourself the brain juice and finish that stupid screenplay of yours.
4. CHECK YOURSELF
You’re Robin Gibbs’ No. 1 fan? Really? Be real with yourself before declaring heartbreak over the death of a celebrity. Yes, Twitter is a playground for narcissists, but you can manage to hold it together and not cry for attention for the day, for once.
If you weren’t a fan when they were alive, don’t trivialize their death by pretending to be once they pass just for the sake of an attempt at a witty tweet. -Faith Stingray Tsurutani
5. STOP BEING A BULLY
Twitter allows many people an outlet for expression, but that doesn’t give anyone the green light to create a stir by throwing out insults about a recently deceased celebrity. Someone died. Develop some self control by keeping hate tweets to yourself for a bit.
When celebrities like Amy Winehouse, Brittany Murphy, and Whitney Houston died, people jumped at the chance to point out drug use. Everybody has the right to share opinions in an open forum like Twitter, but let’s not forget to be respectful even if something seems obvious. -Katie Sirles
What other social media gripes do you have? Tweet me your etiquette tips at @redeyechicago, with the hashtag: #hownottobeajerkonsocialmedia.Copyright © 2015, RedEye