• Sat. May 14th, 2022

Why do people suddenly “delete” their tweets? How a student debt “surge of vitriol” became a meme.

ByTina R. Wimmer

Mar 11, 2021

One of the main topics of conversation on Monday was presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren’s plan for student debt relief and tuition-free college.

By the end of the day, comments about Sen. Warren’s plan had indirectly spurred a massive “deletion” of tweets.

To explain this meme-fueled phenomenon, it helps to understand that among those weighing in on Warren’s plan was Philip Klein, editor of the Washington Examiner.

Klein duly “ratio” for the post below, in which he wrote that Warren’s plan to wipe out student debt “would be a slap in the face to anyone struggling to repay their loans.” (For those unfamiliar, someone’s tweet is considered “proportionatewhen the number of comments the post attracts far exceeds its number of likes and retweets.)

Many criticized Klein for her opinion and the idea that anyone repaying student loans would balk at someone else being potentially freed from crippling debt.

Somewhere in the Twitter keynote that followed, Joel Pavelski, who works for GQ magazine as director of audience development and social media, shared his own thoughts on the cost of higher education and debt. student.

“I don’t know if people know about this, but you just can’t go to college you can’t afford,” Pavelski tweeted.

The sentiment drew more criticism in his direction, with many considering the statement irrelevant and a clear indication of privilege.

Realizing he had found himself in edit ratio territory, Pavelski decided to delete his tweet. But not before capturing the tweet and posting it with an explanation.

“I’m deleting this tweet because the wave of vitriol it’s unleashed is wild but I want to be transparent about it so here’s a screenshot for posterity,” he tweeted. “My main point was that I made sacrifices to graduate debt-free and it’s 100% possible if you compromise.”

“But I don’t want to diminish the barriers that many groups face in getting the education they deserve, and that’s been expressed too casually and resourcefully,” he continued in a tweet from monitoring.

The screenshot and Pavelski’s “transparent” explanation were of course compiled in no time.

Meanwhile, Broadly’s Sara Davis started looking for older tweets from Pavelski. The results – among which was an admission that he had asked his parents for money at university – did not really serve his “main” argument. Namely, that anyone could find a way to graduate debt-free from an “affordable” college… if only they worked hard enough.

In the end, Pavelski’s delete and screenshot routine caught on, as did the language he used in his “wave of vitriol” tweet.

People started posting screenshots of random tweets of their own work, simultaneously explaining their decision to remove those tweets using the form letter Pavelski had provided.

Soon it seemed that the “surge of vitriol” cited by Pavelski had touched every corner of the social network.

For the occasion, author Caroline Moss unearthed a gem of a tweet that featured a mashup of Martin Shkreli and Eminem’s 2002 song “Lose Yourself.”

Brandy Jensen of The Outline picked out a tweet referencing actor Vincent D’Onofrio’s recent tweet about wanting bow a pig because he can’t look up and see the stars.

“My main point was that I made sacrifices to be tipped like a pig and it’s 100% possible if you compromise,” Jensen tweeted.

Even Adam’s take on Reese’s Easter candy wasn’t sure.

Neither did that Scrappy Doo tweet.

Or this:

Anyone who’s seen “First Reformed” will get (spoiler!) Nick’s tweet, along with his (transparent) explanation.

Here’s the ultimate application of the “I’m deleting this tweet” meme:


Do you have any advice? Amy Kuperinsky can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @AmyKup Or on Facebook.

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