Last Friday I tweeted what I thought was a dumb joke where I said Atlanta Braves announcer Joe Simpson was arrested for a DUI but I linked to an article about Jessica Simpson’s father Joe Simpson’s DUI. A lot of my friends that follow me are also Braves fans, so I thought it would be fun to trick them. For the lulz. It’s just a direct variation on a Rick Roll. Even broader, it was a variation on every joke ever because the reader expected one thing, but got another. It’s why the why did the chicken cross the egg joke has lasted generations. You expect some jokey answer, but got the straight one.
The tweet originally got one reply and generated no lulz. I didn’t think much of it because I don’t have a lot of followers and am ultimately insignificant in the world of Braves fans. Saturday night, I got back from dinner and turned on what was already a Braves blowout of the Mets. I think it speaks to my level of fandom that I turned on a 9-1 Braves game on a Saturday night. A half inning after I turned it one Joe Simpson goes on a rant about an “idiot Tweeter” who tweeted he was the Joe Simpson who got the DUI. Joe offered to “meet me” and Chip Caray offered to leave me tickets to make that happen. Joe Simpson, the Braves one, then said he would like to “punch my tickets”. I honestly didn’t think he was talking about me because 1. No one follows me. 2. It wasn’t a clever or original joke. But shortly after that my phone started blowing up with @ replies. Clearly, I was the one Joe just threatened to punch. Joe Simpson is not on Twitter and I don’t think Joe gets what it used for. But that didn’t stop him from ranting about it. I quickly fired off a Tweet to his broadcast partner, Chip Caray, who is on Twitter.
The joke was, of course, I hadn’t been hacked. Chip had tweeted an off color remark about the Aurora shootings and Obama a couple weeks ago. When he realized that was in incredible bad taste, he didn’t apologize, he claimed his account had been “hacked”. Chip was full of shit. You can see his Twitter story here. I was not backing down from my tweet.
I got a lot of replies, especially after Deadspin posted the audio and my offending tweets. There was a mix of people who were cussing me out and of people who understand jokes and were giving me kudos. I picked a few new followers and had a fun night watching all the replies.
But what I didn’t understand was how the hell Joe Simpson saw my Tweet in the first place. I went back and looked at the one person in the world who replied to the tweet in the first place. After a quick search, I discovered that one person (I removed the personal info on the person I suspected at her request.) A-ha! She must have told Joe that some idiot in Alabama had tweeted that he had gotten a DUI. You would think that someone who runs social media for a large company would know better than to engage a troll. But someone waved the red flag that was my tweet in front of the raging bull that is Joe Simpson.
Joe and I probably both come off bad on this. I look like the normal internet troll (even if that wasn’t my intention) and Joe looks like a jock bully. I would love to meet with Joe, Chip and name retracted to talk about Twitter and social media. People like Joe have a problem with social media because anyone can say anything. They believe that only ex-jocks with a microphone should be able to espouse their opinions on baseball. Fortunately social media works much more as a meritocracy than sports announcing does. (Isn’t that right, 3rd generation announcer Chip Caray?) My dumb tweet was ultimately not important until it was exposed to a large audience by Joe Simpson. I would guess maybe 100 people originally saw my tweet. But by threatening me on air, Joe exposed it to over 10,000 people. He made the mistake. I may be an idiot, but he’s a dick with a common name.