Social media has got to be the easiest path to broadcasting you message, loud and proud; and with this great power comes great responsibility. Twitter is public and easily searchable, and anything you broadcast of this platform can, and will, be taken entirely out of context providing the circumstances are just right.
If you’re a celebrity PR agent, Twitter has got to be your biggest nightmare; while the added exposure and proximity to fans is a bonus, the possibility of your client going AWOL and having a very public melt-down is a real possibility.
Even average Joe with a very ordinary job can find himself in hot water should his Tweets be read by the wrong person; and no, your profile disclaimer can not save you here.
Very recently, a Twitter user was sentenced to 56 days of jail time for a racist tweet which was aimed at footballer Fabrice Muamba. He may be cleared of these charges today, but this isn’t the first time legal action has been taken over a Tweet. As David Cameron so rightly said: “Too many tweets might make a t….” I’m sure he meant to say twit.
Here are some important lessons to be learned from some memorable Twitter mishaps.
Back in 2010 a man was fined £3,000 for an angry Tweet directed at Robin Hood Airport: “Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week… otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!” We all know that no one takes airport security threats light-heartedly. He was obviously joking; but the lesson here is: think before you tweet! Take a moment, breath, and decide if you still want to send it.
Early this year, Labour MP Tom Watson had his Twitter account “hacked” by his intern. And when we say “hacked”, we of course mean “he left it logged in and she foolishly posted a tweet on his behalf”. While doing this to your friends may be funny, doing this to your boss is not.
And finally: every PR agents worst nightmare, your client going bonkers on Twitter. Which is exactly what Chris Brown did earlier this year. After sending a series of hateful tweets to his followers, he then attempted to delete the evidence, although some quick eagle eyed reporters managed to grab some screenshots. The lesson here: don’t tweet angry! Never post anything that you have any inkling you might want to delete at a later date.
Have you had any twitter disasters?