Emphasis in this quote of Rosen's response, is mine.
I'm baffled by the fact that 1,000 new people started to follow me on Twitter. What do they expect to read? It's a bizarre, voyeuristic Internet culture and everybody in the mob is looking to get in on the next fight first, to be at the center of the thing that's happening, even if there's nothing really there. Which might explain the thousands of stupid e-mails and tweets I have received from the mob wanting to get a punch in. But given that I have been condemned for seeming to condone sexual assault, it's surprising how many hundreds (no exaggeration) of people have e-mailed me wishing that I or people close to me will be sexually assaulted.
There's probably some larger lesson about social media to be drawn here, and how its immediacy can be great in its power to connect us, but also a liability because something blurted out and not meant to be serious acquires a greater power. Then, an offensive joke can be seen as an ideological manifesto, gallows humor can be seen as a serious support for sexual assault. I only wish this had been apparent to me before I hit enter.
We have this odd idea that the web is completely "free" in the abstract conception of the word. This view however fails to account for the social costs underlying the network. Indeed, many people champion this aspect of the web, but that doesn't always make this force a Just force. As a matter of fact there is no arbitrage to be had. We are continually constrained by our peers.
So rather then concerning ourself about the lowest common denominator of law on the Internet we should concern ourselves with the society of both the web and the underlying "local". Here the very locality and geography of the of Main Street will scale part of what might be an otherwise "scale free" network.
Such was Rosen's fate. He became the story when a certain segment of society reacted to his tweet. Such is the dark social cost of the web, where reputations are everything, and mistakes may never be forgiven. It is all playground callousness, and playground reputations. We should be thankful that this tendency mostly contains itself to the "local" society, underneath the scale-free network.