I’m always taken aback but some people’s visceral reaction to Twitter (both adults and students). It should surprise me too much, though, because I have a similarly visceral reaction to Facebook. My surprise, however, stems from my assumption (valid or not) that people view Twitter as somehow a negative-Facebook: Twitter Darth Vader vs. Facebook Luke Skywalker.

I love Twitter. Don’t worry. I’m not tweeting out what I had for lunch (PB&J) or how my weekend was (great; went skiing with the family yesterday); in fact, I rarely, if ever, tweet. Rather, Twitter for me, as it has I think for many (especially adults) has become my primary source of news and information (beyond the Daily Show and the Colbert Report). All of the things I’m interested in come to me via my Twitter feed.

So it was more out of curiosity than any inherent interest in the implications that I clicked on ESPN’s post about the Mets’ St. Patrick’s Day hats. A good friend of mine is a Mets fan and I figured she might like to see it (and, in fact, have one), and so I ended up on the Mets’ original post:

Immediate reaction to the image was predictably shallow (ugly, awful, good luck, etc.). But what became very interesting was how the discussion quickly turned to a (implicit; I’m not sure half the participants realized what they were doing) discussion on stereotyping (in the first image below, note especially the last line on all heritages):

Especially toward the end there, the discussion seemed to take a bit of a turn for the negative in tone, but even still a pretty interesting view into (if not explicit discussion of) stereotypes ensued.

As for stereotypes themselves, well, whether we want to admit it or not, there are certain stereotypes that are more accepted than others, largely because the target of the stereotypes doesn’t do anything on a systemic level to dispel them, i.e. individuals may have a problem with them but the group as a whole doesn’t band together to condemn them with a unified voice. The Asian and Jewish stereotypical images in the thread above would be roundly criticized by Asian and Jewish groups (as opposed to individuals), while the Irish (on an individual level) seem to be divided on the stereotype propagated on the Mets hat. Similar, I suspect, is the Italian mafia stereotype, one which I (as an Italian American) am not thrilled about but whose origin and propagation I understand and wouldn’t go to great lengths to protest or dispel.

Nonetheless, a pretty interesting discussion out of what I would guess was deemed a very innocent initiative and an even more innocent post.