From the Left



False Tweets, Future Jailbirds?

By Clarence Page, Tribune Media Services on

I have never been quite as wrapped up with Twitter as a lot of my colleagues are, although the 140-characters-or-less medium appears to be ideally suited to today's shortened attention spans.

Don't think, Twitter tells us, only text.

Such spontaneous brevity has led to an unexpected bonus of entertainment: watching people embarrass themselves with messages that they would have thought better than to tweet, if only their brains had been more fully engaged.

Today's winner of the bonehead tweeting prize in my view goes to a 29-year-old hedge fund analyst with a name that would impress Dickens: Shashank Tripathi of New York, also known by the bold and audacious Twitter handle ComfortablySmug.

As Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York and New Jersey, and millions turned to the #Sandy hashtag for tidbits of useful information, Tripathi apparently decided it would be fun to join in, providing bogus information which he simply made up.

Among his not-so-great hits:


"Con Edison has begun shutting down ALL power in Manhattan."

"Governor Cuomo is trapped in Manhattan."

"Confirmed flooding on NYSE. The trading floor is flooded under more than three feet of water."

Sounds like fun, if you're the type of person who would throw a skunk into a homeless shelter. Unfortunately the tweets were retweeted so far and wide that the power company Consolidated Edison and others had to send out correction tweets to avoid a panic.


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