The lesson I learned on Twitter this week is: always give credit when possible.
When I was on my way out the door from work the other day I was stopped by my colleague Dave and asked if I could do the CBC Eyeopener a favor. The morning show had a beat poem that was written by local Calgary writer @eggbeck. It was a clever poem that was put together from a collection of 311 complaints from the City of Calgary 311 map. I thought the poem was funny. So I agreed to record it. One read through later I was on my way home to begin my homework for the next days Tonic show I host on Radio 2.
I woke up the next day with a tweet already on my smartphone. It was a direct tweet from Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi who was reacting to the 311 beat poem that just aired on CBC Radio 1. He wrote, "omg. You are amazing." I responded to the coolest mayor in the world by simply stating, "Thank you. Who knew beat poetry was so much fun?" I sensed that there was something missing... which there was. I didn't give credit to @eggbeck who wrote the poem. Truth was... I didn't know who wrote the poem.
The flurry of twitter activity that followed afterward astounded me. A number Calgary twitter users began berating me for taking credit for writing that 311 poem. They called me names, USED CAPITAL LETTERS and one twitterer even threatened to call me a "bag of dicks" for what I had done (that's a first for me). I tried to explain myself with tweets back. I tried to explain that I was just trying to help out some colleagues. I tried to bring the situation back to civility using the best information I could find. I tried to explain that I was told that the 311 poem came from actual complaints from Calgarians.
In a few hours things cooled down. I gave credit to @eggbeck in a few more tweets. @eggbeck deserves credit for every single word of that 311 poem I uttered into the microphone. "Yes, @eggbeck is totally rad!" was the last tweet I sent regarding the 311 poem situation.
@eggbeck has friends. Her friends were just looking out for her on Twitter, that's all.
I have friends. I was just doing my friends a favor by reading a poem, that's all.
I know what my intention was when I sat in front of that mic to read @eggbeck's 311 poem: I was happy to help out. Intentions don't always translate in 140 characters. I have the word "Intention" tatoo'd on my wrist. I may need to look at that more often.
If you haven't heard @eggbeck's 311 poem, here's a link to where you can hear it. It's a pretty cool poem worthy of praise. Heap it on... to @eggbeck, not me please.