The “Slap” and Breakup Heard ‘Round the World

We like to think that most folks spent their Thanksgivings like we did – surrounded by loved ones and eating our weight in our favorite foods.

Some people, however, had a much more eventful holiday. As illustrated by FlightAware’s Misery Map, delays ran rampant over the holiday weekend, causing thousands of travelers undue stress as they tried to reunite with their families. The Thanksgiving travel insanity also led to one of the most infamous exchanges of 2013. We’re referring to Elan Gale’s (@theyearofelan) heated, but mostly nonverbal, communication with fellow air traveler “Diane." Internet spectators watched in suspense as Elan and “Diane’s” missives became less and less civil as their flight wore on, eventually culminating in a physical altercation.

That escalated quickly.

After the story went viral, Elan revealed the whole kerfuffle to be a big ol’ fake. In November, comedian Kyle Ayers (@kyleayers) live-tweeted a breakup that occurred on his Brooklyn rooftop. The poignant interaction also went viral. (So far, this one has not been debunked as a hoax.)
Ouch, “guy”. OUCH.

Ouch, “guy”. OUCH.

Whatever you think about the politics of sharing these personal exchanges, both narratives are, ultimately, incredibly relatable. Yes, Elan’s saga wound up being a tall tale, but thanks to the power of social sharing, his work of fiction struck a chord with thousands of people. Let’s be honest – if you bore witness to a particularly painful breakup, wouldn’t you relay the event to your friends? If you suffered through a flight with an unbearable seatmate, wouldn’t you complain about afterwards – at least a little? These gents just told their stories on a medium that allowed them to be heard by more people. Great storytelling isn’t dead – in fact, in today’s world, it may be more vital than ever. What do you think about Elan and Kyle's social media storytelling? Let us know in the comments!

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