The Star-News


The Valley of Twitter

Sat, Jul 27 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

Ever walk barefoot? On lush fescue? In the spring? Beneath a temperate sun and topaz skies, minding your own business and smiling? And then step on a fresh mound of dog excrement?

That moment of annoyed ick is the feeling I get when reading posts on Twitter and hearing from some anonymous users.

The social platform is still 90 percent useless, with 10 percent utility coming about only after hours of patient sifting.

If you want links to stories or firsthand accounts of news in areas where you can’t be, Twitter is a welcome tool. If you want to hear useless, glib, snarky, self-serving, patronizing, sophomoric, misleading, inflammatory, oversimplified or confused rhetoric, Twitter serves that purpose too. Which brings me back to that pile of dog biscuit and the feeling of ick.

Not long ago I met with South Bay YMCA business and community relations director Rebecca Kelley about an unrelated issue. Some of  the first unsolicited words out of her mouth were: I’m not OtayRanchTweets.

Actually, that would be East Chula Vista @OtayRanchTweets on Twitter.

In the past @OtayRanchTweets has published posts such as: “#YGTBSM” (an acronym for “You Got To Be S------- Me”) with regard to swim hours for Muslim women at a San Diego YMCA; or  Councilwoman “Mary Salas owns four houses? On a legislators salary? And takes dirty money from Seville construction?... all starting to make sense now!”; and “Why is @HumbertoPeraza not doing anything to remove Terri Valladolid from the SWC board? #Ethics #Corruption #politicians #kickbacks #graft.”

Given that Kelley works for the YMCA and part of her job probably includes networking with political figures like Salas and Peraza, you can understand why confusion about who she is on Twitter might make her uncomfortable.
How or why the rumor that Kelley is @OtayRanchTweets got started isn’t clear. But it’s become such an urban legend that some elected officials and political watchers have speculated about the identity of @OtayRanchTweets for a while (is it Kelley, is it a disgruntled government employee, an aide to an elected official?), enough so that the Twitter user even has a disclaimer stating they are not Rebecca Kelley.

To a degree, it’s become one of life’s great tiny mysteries, right up there with “Who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp, who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong?”

Of course, @OtayRanchTweets isn’t the only person online who posts messages to convey a belief, ask a loaded question or simply get a reaction. Anonymous occasionally annoying users on the Internet are legion.

And while someone’s true identity is an interesting question to ponder, in the end you just wipe off your foot and watch where you step as you walk through the valley of Twitter. Hopefully that’s useful information to someone.


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