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Flapping The Bird At Social Media

Staff Writer

Published: Friday, February 14, 2014

Updated: Monday, February 17, 2014 15:02


When I approached my roommate last week to ask why he was yelling out in anguish so much, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. “Flappy Bird!” he exclaimed. “How do you not have it yet?”

   Moments later, I found myself tapping my finger on my iPhone screen, keeping some sort of flightless bird alive in a quasi Mario Brothers World. Though I sympathized with my roommate’s frustration with the game’s difficulty, I could not stop. I always needed to beat my high score, beat my friend’s high score, or at least pass the time. Throughout all of this, I always had a positive experience. However, this was not the case for most “Flappy Bird” users. 

   “YOU BEST NOT BE DELETING FLAPPY BIRD BECAUSE I WILL MURDER YOU IF U DO,” wrote one Twitter user. A second enthusiastic user wrote: “If you delete flappy bird I will literally kill myself. It’s my drug and I am so addicted!!” A third emphatic Twitter user added “PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS TO MEEE PLEASEE…I’ll find you and I’ll kill you.”

   These were all real comments left on Dong Nguyen’s Twitter page. Mr. Nguyen is the Vietnamese Indie game creator of “Flappy Bird” who has incurred the wrath of many “Flappy Bird” users. They hold him personally accountable for the pain and frustration that they experience while playing the game. Mr. Nguyen took all of this so personally that he felt the need to tweet from his personal account: “I can call ‘Flappy Bird’ a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it.”

   Is the purpose of Social Media to cause this entire backlash? Mr. Nguyen did not create this app with the intent to ruin people’s lives. Though not much is known about Mr. Nguyen, reading his Twitter page reveals that he has been creating games for 10 years. He has been creating not because it pays his bills, not because he is in between jobs, but because this is what he enjoys. This is what he loves to do with his life. Who are we, as Twitter and as Social Media users, to take that away from him?

One could make the argument that the “Flappy Bird” success is the biggest in app history, reportedly earning Mr. Nguyen over $50,000 a day at its peak. Why couldn’t he just take the money and be happy? His self-proclaimed “simple life” could be greatly improved by his increased capital. Even if not, he might deserve the ridicule he is getting. He is putting himself out there by making an app available to the world, and by attaching his Twitter account to it. 

   On February 8th, Mr. Nguyen answered all of these naysayers in this Tweet: “I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.” He refuses to give the power to these hurtful users. He refuses to have his life ruined any longer by these hurtful comments.

But Mr. Nguyen’s experience begs the previously posed question: Is this really the purpose of social media? To be hurtful and to ruin a simple man’s life? When we Tweet, post on Facebook, share a photo on Instagram, or any of the other social media sites, we must remember that it is available to the world, and our readers have feelings. Social Media is a wonderful tool to connect and reconnect, to inform and protect. It has the power to let the world know of any sort of information in the matter of seconds, but it also has the power to ruin lives, such as Mr. Nguyen’s. So next time you think about tweeting about how frustrated you are about a certain individual, about a certain situation, or even just hitting Mario’s green pole, remember how hurtful your words can be. Someone is always listening. 

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