Is Chris Brown and Rihanna’s Twitter Feud Sending the Wrong Message?

May 15th, 2013

(Photos from left: Judy Eddy/WENN.com, All Access Photo / Splash News)

By: Jake Rohn

Chris Brown and Rihanna give new meaning to the phrase “on-again off-again” with their relationship, which doesn’t seem to function unless it’s dysfunctional. The tumultuous twosome have taken to social media to throw quasi-subliminal shade at each other. While this is nothing new for anyone who has followed their rocky love affair, there are some folks that argue the superstar couple is sending the wrong message with their on-going feuding.

Rihanna drew first blood, agreeing with one of Brown’s earlier sentiments. “Settling is not an option! Nothing less than 100% loyalty, honesty, and respect!! Love ain’t for kidz #butimsleeptho,” tweeted the CoverGirl model. Chris Brown jabbed back two hours later, citing Rih Rih’s own works, tweeting, “Sometimes loving someone is too much! So loving from a distance will help everyone grow! Be blessed. Live ya life.”

Rihanna continued over the weekend, getting increasingly personal, with her “subliminally” tweeting, “IF I DROP ALL OF MY H–S FOR YOU AND WE STILL DON’T WORK OUT YOU ME SOME H–S.”  She even posted a pic of a date night setting with an anonymous companion, to which she added the antagonistic caption, “Got a thang for a King, but chu ain’t a King!!!”

As young people with an even younger fan base, Chris and Rihanna need to be more cognizant of the consequences of their actions. Social media has a lot of benefits, but it has also become a breeding ground for passive aggressiveness and public humiliation.

Public mudslinging and media-assisted insults are nothing new. In fact, if you go back a few centuries, some of the first presidential candidates would not only insult their adversary, but would slander said opponent’s wife and family (a code of ethics that even Tony Montana would not agree with). So is it really fair to single out this former young power couple? The answer is yes, because not only are they influential, but they also speak to a younger, decidedly more impressionable legion of followers than many of their celebrity cohorts.

This most recent string of unnecessarily personal attacks has come to the point where some are calling it cyber bullying. Whether or not it really is, it still sends the wrong message to young people, inferring that public mudslinging is an acceptable way to deal with conflict. This behavior, as juvenile as it may be, does have an effect on young people. In a day and age where people are committing suicide based on online rhetoric, these two have a responsibility to their fans to set an example of how to effectively solve problems through direct communication. Ask any therapist and they will tell you it’s not good to repress, but they will probably not tell you to air out the other person’s personal business under the thinly masked veil of Twitterverse anonymity.

There is no debating that the problem goes far beyond these two. Pundits, “experts” and attention seekers alike all use public forums such as social media and television to garner attention for themselves at someone else’s expense. Donald Trump recently gained days of free press simply by convincing the public he could discredit the president (which he never actually did). Chris Brown and Rihanna carry extra weight because their fan base is more impressionable. Chances are, this is not the last we’ve heard from them. Hopefully, by the time of the next make-up or breakup, they will have realized that a real conversation is worth more than a thousand tweets.

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