The George Zimmerman murder trial took a strange detour into social media this afternoon, as prosecution witness Jenna Lauer, who placed the 911 call on which screams for help can be heard, was accused by the prosecutor of following Zimmerman’s brother, Robert Zimmerman, Jr., on Twitter. Lauer made a credible claim of ignorance about Twitter, and denied following Zimmerman, which turned out not to be true. The real spectacle, though, was the utter failure of anyone in the court to know a single thing about Twitter.
Lauer’s Twitter account has since been suspended or deleted, but freelance journalist Matthew Keys captured a screenshot while it was still live, and it clearly shows Ms. Lauer followed 112 people, including Robert Zimmerman:
George Zimmerman’s brother has become a controversial figure in this case, particularly because of his Twitter activity. The revelation, however, soon gave way to the most massive Twitter fail in judicial history.
It all started innocently enough, as Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda showed Lauer a laptop screen, and asked, “That’s your Twitter?”
“Yes,” she responded.
“And you recognize one of the people you’re following is Robert Zimmerman, Jr., Mr. Zimmerman’s brother right here?” de la Rionda asked.
“I see it says that,” Jenna Lauer replied, “but if you — if you know anything about me and Twitter, I hardly know how to use that.”
As would soon become obvious, neither does Attorney de la Rionda. He tried to find out how Zimmerman got on her Twitter account, which she couldn’t remember, but surmised might have been accidental. Pointing at the screen, she said “I don’t know who that is. I don’t know who that is. I don’t know who half of those people are.”
“Do you know how they got on your Twitter?” de la Rionda asked.
Indicating the screen again, she said “It says ‘follow,’ it doesn’t say ‘following.'”
That is, of course, because she was looking at her own Twitter account, on a laptop on which she was not logged in.
“What does that mean?” de la Rionda asked, to begin a painful clinic in Twitter cluelessness.
“It means that if I want to follow them, I could click that,” Lauer wrongly replied, and added, “I don’t acknowledge that I clicked to follow them. It’s asking me to do it now.”
Long story short, nobody in court knew a damn thing about Twitter, and they spent a few more minutes making Abe Simpson sound like Mark Zuckerberg, before forgetting the whole thing. This is not why Al Gore invented the internet, people.
Here’s the clip, from HLN:
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org