Tweeting, like acting, is harder than it looks.
It relies on split-second timing, an acute sense of the moment and sufficient information in order not to expose yourself publicly to ridicule. Sadly, actor and tech entrepreneur Ashton Kutcher managed only two of the three yesterday.
Following the firing of Penn State coach Joe Paterno for his involvement in an alleged cover-up of child molestation at the school, Kutcher tweeted: "How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste."
As many swiftly pointed out, the poor taste was Kutcher's. And the #insult and # noclass aspects might have been directed at Paterno himself, rather than the school.
Kutcher soon removed the tweet.
However, this only brought another barrage of tweets. One, for example, from brilliant Twitter entity, Kelly Oxford: "You can't even act when you type. RT@aplusk An insane story, I just heard paterno was fired, getting the rest of the story now... Wow."
So Kutcher tweeted again: "As an advocate in the fight against child sexual exploitation, I could not be more remorseful for all involved in the Penn St. case."
The Hollywood star apparently soon realized this response was inadequate, so he issued an apology and froze his Twitter account after these words: "As of immediately I will stop tweeting until I find a way to properly manage this feed. I feel awful about this error. Won't happen again."
Naturally, there will be those who are unforgiving. They will say that Kutcher still doesn't know which third state entity Rick Perry wants to abolish.
However, perhaps Kutcher's actions are merely symbolic of our times. We wander around the Web. We see headlines. We think we know what they mean. We react. Because it only takes a few keystrokes to do that.
It's an automatic response. Some, like my friend George, rely on their friends to filter out the headlines worth reading and those that aren't. Which puts a lot of pressure on your choice of friends.
Perhaps Kutcher will return to Twitter and his more than 8 million followers. Perhaps, too, he might one day explain how he could have possibly not have known the true story of Joe Paterno and Penn State.