Is addiction to the social-media site Twitter destroying people's sense of what's appropriate or even sane? That's the question being asked this week after news broke that Florida mom Shellie Ross was reportedly busy Tweeting as her two-year-old was drowning. (Watch a report about Shellie Ross' Tweets.) Ross, 37, soon broadcasted the tragedy to over 5,300 followers: "Please pray like never before," she Tweeted, "my 2 yr old fell in the pool." Five hours later, she posted photos of the deceased child and an update: "Remembering my million dollar baby." Ross, who's earned both savage criticism and compassion, is not the only American whose Twitter addiction made the news. Here, nine more:
@MyWedding: This December, Dana Hanna, of Abingdon, Md., felt it necessary to tell Twitter that he was tying the knot: "Standing at the altar with @TracyPage," he wrote, "where just a second ago, she became my wife! Gotta go, time to kiss my bride." After being widely scorned for his matrimonial Twittering, he tweeted back with his signature succinctness: "You don't get it. I was having fun at MY wedding! Loosen up, have fun!"
@SecretmissiontoIraq: House Minority Leader John Boehner’s secret trip to Iraq in February was carefully kept under wraps by government and news media — that is, until his travelling partner, Michigan Rep. Peter Hoekstra, tweeted all about it: "Just landed in Baghdad," Hoekstra wrote. "I believe it may be first time I've had bb [Blackberry] service in Iraq." After receiving flak from the government, Hoekstra pointed out that he didn't report on the dangerous parts of the trip: "I didn't Twitter that," Hoekstra said, "because that's a different environment."
@InSurgery: Doctors at Michigan's Henry Ford Hospital have found a new way to update loved ones — and everyone else — during risky surgeries: they simply Twitter about it. One chief resident furiously live-updated throughout a kidney operation this February: "Tumor is excised, bleeding is controlled, we are about to come off the clamp. Thank you for joining us today."
@OnTrial: Even media pro Al Roker was caught off-guard in May, when he was slammed for Tweeting photos of fellow jurors while performing jury duty at the Manhattan Supreme Court. Though NBC's "Today" weatherman initially defended the photos, he later proved contrite, promising to go "back into the courtroom, [with my] iPhone buried deep in my bag."
@Childbirth: Sara Williams, wife of Twitter CEO Evan Williams, proved how committed she is to his innovation when she relentlessly tweeted througout childbirth this August: "Dear Twitter, my water broke," Williams wrote, noting that she would be timing her contractions with an iPhone app. Even when the pain of childbirth proved too much to bear, she bravely managed to tweet: "Epidural, yes please."
@MJ'sFuneral: Michael Jackson's July funeral was a fiercely private affair — complete with a three-mile no-fly zone around Forest Lawn cemetery — but that didn't stop Rev. Al Sharpton from live-tweeting the King of Pop's memorial service. "Just spoke at the conclusion of Tributes," Sharpton told his Twitter followers. "Glady knight sang her heart out," he later reported. "Now we prepare to lay him to rest."
@LondonMarathon: Simply completing the London marathon this April wasn't enough for Peter Wilkinson. The CNN.com digital news producer Tweeted his 3-hour-and-30-minute journey to the finish line. "It was a lot easier than I thought because I'm so used to texting," Wilkinson later told CNN, adding, "I didn't run into anyone."
@Miscarriage: Brazen Careerist CEO Penelope Trunk alienated some of her Twitter fans when she tweeted her own miscarriage in September: "I'm in a board meeting. Having a miscarriage. Thank goodness, because there's a...3-week hoop-jump to have an abortion in Wisconsin." Though Trunk defended the tweet on her blog, the damage was irreversible: 70 Twitterers swiftly unfollowed the career blogger.
@FromSpace: NASA astronaut Mike Massimino distilled his first shuttle launch into 139 characters, making him the first astronaut to use Twitter from space. "From orbit: Launch was awesome!!" Massimino told 241,000 followers in May. "I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!"
READ MORE OF THE WEEK'S MOST POPULAR ROUND-UPS:
• 9 best 'White Christmas' video spoofs
• 12 biggest controversies of 2009
• Top 7 insane homeowners association rules
• 8 Facebook misfires that ruined lives
• Made in China: 7 toxic imports