Chad Tyson

Firefighter uses Facebook to say he’d delay treatment for African-Americans

As noted by a TV station in Texas, a Dallas firefighter is in trouble after a Facebook post in which he implied that he would delay treatment for African-Americans.

Chad Tyson is a firefighter in Dallas.  He was responding to a Facebook post that a friend of his had made.  The post shares a story about two firefighters in San Diego were stabbed by a black man.  Then the exchange below happened:

Chad Tyson racist Facebook comment

That last comment – “I will delay treatment for more of them as well” comes from Tyson, and what he is saying is pretty clear: He will delay treating African-Americans.  To say that this is not something anyone should say – let alone a firefighter – is an understatement.

Tyson’s comment is now under investigation by the Dallas Fire Department, which said, “We’re looking into it, with an idea towards discipline.”  The Dallas Fire Department does have a social media policy which limits comments like these.

As this blog has covered many times before, while public employees do not forfeit their first amendment rights, comments which could impact their job performance very clearly are inappropriate…to say nothing of comments which would imply that life saving treatment could be delayed because of the color of ones skin.

I suspect Mr. Tyson will find himself on the receiving end of discipline and training.

Tweets and Consequences

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John Douglas

Georgia County Commissioner responds to disgusting post with racism

As noted by 11Alive in Georgia, Newton County Commissioner John Douglas is in trouble responding to an abhorrent post with an abhorrent post of his own.

#NotMyFlag has been used by some to express their disgust for the United States.  Some have taken the trend to the point where they are literally taking pictures of themselves desecrating the American flag.  One such example is seen here:


Charming.  Good luck finding a job in the future.

Anyway, the picture above is obviously disgusting: the woman is pretending to wipe her rear with the American flag, while flipping the camera the bird.

The picture, by design, has people enraged, including Newton Commissioner John Douglas.  However, Douglas definitely went too far when he made the comment below:

John Douglas racist comment

And, we see the worst of humanity here.  One terrible post provokes even more.  Awful.

Anyway, when first confronted about his comment, Douglas actually tried to say it wasn’t him:  “I don’t know what happened, look at what she’s doing; I think that’s wrong.”

However, some time later, Douglas reversed course, saying:  “”My response is you need to go find out why she did that…If she apologizes for that, I’ll apologize for what I said.”

Other Commissioners blasted Douglas’ quote, with one saying, “Absolutely not [appropriate], I’m embarrassed by that frankly.”

Douglas later reversed course (again) and apologized, saying, “She baited me, and I took the bait. I made some very insensitive and derogatory comments…if anyone is offended, I am very, very sorry for using the wrong word in that posting. But having said that, I am not sorry for coming to the defense of our flag.”

A few closing points.  Posts like the #NotMyFlag picture, as seen above, are designed to rile us up.  It’s very difficult to not look at a picture like this and not become instantly enraged.  I think, however, that responding to a picture like this is beneath the dignity of a public official.  You give it credence and credibility by doing so.  I try to ignore posts like these.

Second, the response is obviously out of line.  It’s difficult to look more juvenile than the original poster here, but Commissioner Douglas found a way.

Third, if you do something like this, take responsibility.  As if Commissioner Douglass didn’t look stupid enough, he found a way to dig himself deeper by trying to deny that the comments were his, only to reverse course shortly afterwards.  If you’re going to be a racist, sexist putz, at least be brave enough to take responsibility for your words.

Tweets and Consequences

Like the blog?  Get the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.

Facebook and Twitter

The best time to post on Facebook and Twitter…doesn’t exist

This has been a pet peeve of mine for a while now: If I see one more post which claims to know, for certain, the best time to post on Facebook or Twitter, I’m worried my head my explode.

Why?  Because such a magical, mystical, uniform time does not exist.  In fact, experts” and studies have all drawn different conclusions about what times work best.

Check out these links.  In terms of Facebook, this infographic says that Thursday and Friday are the best days of the week to post, this one says go for Wednesday’s at 3pm, and this one says after work (which, incidentally, is the exact opposite of the previous two links).  Similar conflicting information exist for Twitter, Instagram, and pretty much every social network.

So, why is there such a disparity of information here?  Why do multiple studies not agree?

Well, because every audience is different, and different audiences obviously come complete with differing patterns of online activity and social media consumption.  As a result, no two audience is the same, and no two audience has a “best time.”

How do you then determine your best time for posting?  Well, you have to do the leg-work yourself.  Facebook and Twitter now each come complete with their own analytics, and using those analytics, you can determine when your audience is online, what time period is the best for making uploads, and what time your entries typically do the best.

In other words: You can’t go by a uniform study, because there’s no such thing.  Perhaps links like the one above can provide some insight about general trends, but there is no way you can read them as specific to you, your audience, or your needs.  For that, you have to do the leg work to determine what times work best for you.


Phone use and depression

I caught this story in the Washington Post, and I’ll be the first to admit it: I am not surprised by it.  Not even a little bit.

Here’s the summary: Using apps and a questionnaire, researchers were able to link depression with phone use.  In other words, the more time you spend using your phone, the more likely you are to be depressed.

This is, of course, not the first study to link depression with new technology.  Multiple past studies have shown a connection between Facebook and depression, and as the article notes, this is likely the first of many studies which will deal with the connection between tech and mental health.

An important disclaimer: There is no causation statement here, only correlation, though I have my own theory about that.  First, for those of you who know me in the real world, you likely know that I’ve been very public about my own battles with depression and anxiety:

In looking at my personal experiences with depression, I can tell you this much: When you are depressed, generally speaking, you want nothing to do with the world.  You just want to withdraw into a fake, safe universe, where thinking is not required and personal interaction is limited.  Of course, this is extremely dangerous and counter productive: When I’m depressed, I NEED to interact with people, distract myself with real work and make sure I don’t enter the fantasy land of my iPhone.  However, combine these urges with the natural tendency of many in my generation to spend too much time with their phones, and you get a recipe for disaster.

Here’s my point: We are barely scratching the surface of the connection between technology, social networking and mental health.  I was very excited to see this study, because it begins to shed some concrete answers on a real problem.  I’ll also add that, for those of you who, like me, suffer from mental health problems, the temptation to spend too much time in the land of social networking or on a mobile device can get way, way too tempting and too distracting.  It’s something that requires vigilance, and I hope studies like this can continue to shed the light on this problem.  And, as our society gets more technologically integrated, I think that digital technology – and safety – area areas which will have to be increasingly addressed by our schools.


Another volunteer firefighter in trouble after racist Facebook post

A little while ago, I wrote about Kurtis Cook, a volunteer firefighter who was fired from his position after he made a Facebook post which appeared to praise Charleston shooter Dylann Storm Roof.  Unfortunately, I have to write today about another volunteer firefighter who is also in trouble for his blatantly racist Facebook use.

Today’s post comes from Dewayne Hall, who was a volunteer firefighter in Richland, Mississippi.  Hall posted a picture to Facebook which featured a picture of the KKK flag, with the caption “White power will never die.”

Yeah, that didn’t go well.

Hall was placed on administrative leave.  In a statement, the Richland fire chief said:

“We are aware of the issue and are looking into the matter in more detail. AMR does not tolerate discrimination of any kind and the actions of this person are not representative of the thousands of dedicated paramedics and EMTs who take care of our patients every day.”

For Hall’s part, he said he was making the statement in response to the controversy surrounding the Mississippi state flag:

Mississippi State Flag

Specifically, Hall said:

“If it offends someone by all means I apologize that it offends anyone, but they got to look at the heritage side of it versus the hate side.”

For the life of me, I don’t understand this.  Actually, that’s not true, I do.  I think that, for the vast majority of people, discussions of white “heritage” are just code for hate and racism.  This is pretty clear, based on Hall’s post.  On what planet is the KKK considered to be part of white “heritage,” unless it’s with a blatantly racist subtext?  I’m white, and I sure as hell don’t consider this to be part of my heritage.  Clearly, Hall wasn’t discussing white “heritage,” unless he meant to do so in a blatantly racist way.

As for the Facebook post…yeah.  It was obviously racist, and the consequences of such a post are obvious.

Mayor Patrick Rushing

Washington State Mayor asked to resign over racist Facebook posts

Patrick Rushing is the Mayor of Airway Heights, Washington, a suburb of Spokane.  The Mayor is in trouble after a series of incredibly racist Facebook posts.  The one in question features Rushing calling Michelle Obama “gorilla faced.” Specifically, Rushing wrote:

“Gorilla face Michelle, can’t disagree with that. The woman is not attractive except to monkey man Barack. Check out them ears. LOL.”

One website has assembled an astounding +75 racially charged, or blatantly racist posts.  These include:

Just to reiterate, this man is the Mayor if his municipality, and was actually elected Mayor by his peers.  The full website is worth checking out for it’s insanity.

Thankfully, the rest of Airway Heights is not insane.  It’s City Council passed a resolution expressing it’s displeasure with the Mayor and asking him to resign.  The Deputy City Manager and Policy Chief also joined in in calling for Rushing’s resignation, with Police Chief Lee Bennett saying, “I can tell you that in the matter of public opinion they were racist (comments). When you become a public figure I’m no longer Lee Bennett citizen.”

Chief Bennett, of course, is totally accurate: no elected official is ever just an elected official, and everything that we do, we do in the capacity of an office holder.  Mayor Rushing has apologized for his remarks but refused to resign, saying, “I made a mistake. I owned up to my mistake. If I do resign that’s admitting I’m a racist and I’m not.”

One of the things about the digital world is that the evidence is EVERYWHERE, and never goes away.  Rushing is, in fact, a racist, among many, many other negative traits.


Don’t block your opponents

This is just a silly, unforced error.

George Osborne is a Member of Parliament in England; he is part of the Conservative Party.  Apparently, he’s no fan of the Liberal Democratic party, because when it comes to Twitter, the Liberal Democratic party recently made this post:

Seriously?  What is this, 10th grade?

As noted by Buzzfeed, the Liberal Democratic party recently used their Twitter account to mock Osborne.  That being said, there’s nothing surprising about the press account for a party mocking members of the opposition – honestly, that’s half of what they do.  It makes no sense that Osborne would appear to have such a thin skin and give the Liberal Democrats an easy talking point against him.

If I’ve learned anything during my time in public office, it’s that you have to have a thick skin.  It’s not necessarily fun, but it’s life.  At the same time:

1) Blocking your opponents doesn’t actually do anything – all they need to do is sign out and they can see your content.

2) If you are tired of reading attacks on you, you can “mute” people on Twitter – this means that they will be removed from your mentions feed, as well as your timeline – and the other person won’t be any the wiser.  I don’t recommend this for politicians – I think it’s best to read what others are saying about you, even if it’s nasty, but mute is certainly preferable to blocking someone.