Please Tweet Responsibly – Learning From Others’ Social Media Mistakes

June 7th, 2011 by Search Influence Alumni

Twitter is a social media force to be reckoned with, and nowhere is that more apparent than in recent news.  In case you’ve been living under a rock, Twitter is a global microblogging platform that allows users to broadcast information, ideas, status updates, etc. in 140 characters or less.  Tweeters subscribe to others’ broadcasts by “following” each other.  Boasting an estimated 200 million users, Twitter is definitely a service you should be utilizing to promote your business (or your “personal brand”) online.  Think about it – that’s 200 million potential followers for you!

But remember how we said it’s a force to be reckoned with?  If you’re not mindful of what you’re sending out into the Twittersphere, you might accidentally create a lynch mob.  Designer Kenneth Cole created an uproar when a member of his social media team attempted to take advantage of the trending topic #Cairo to sell shoes; people were offended that the tweet made light of serious current events.  The tweet was quickly taken down and replaced with an apology message, but it was too late – who knows how many people had already seen the tweet?  Lesson learned:  think about how your tweet will be received by the general public before you post it.

We can all finish the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say…”  Now let’s all memorize this:  if you don’t have anything public-appropriate to say, maybe you shouldn’t say it at all – just to be on the safe side.  Rep. Anthony Weiner has certainly learned this lesson over the past two weeks.  In an honest mistake, a scandalous photo that was meant to be sent to a Seattle woman as a DM (direct message) was posted to his account as a public tweet and viewed by countless Weiner followers.  #Oops.  We’ll have to wait and see how this affects his campaign for congress, but we’re thinking it won’t be favorably.  If you’re new to Twitter, you should check out one of the many helpful tutorials online; at least make yourself familiar with the locations of each button in whatever interface you’re using.  Even the most experienced Tweeters should double- and triple-check every post before sending; at the very least, you might catch an embarrassing spelling mistake.

If you’re not careful, Twitter misuse could cost you your job – that’s exactly what happened back in March when someone with access to Chrysler’s Twitter account confused the official account with his own private account.  It seemed that Chrysler had posted a profane tweet with anti-Detroit sentiment.  Chrysler didn’t take too kindly to this and canned the guy after deleting the tweet and apologizing to its account’s followers.  Again, #oops.

We can basically sum up all of the Twitter tips above with a lesson you should have learned long ago in elementary math – CHECK YOUR WORK!  It still applies and always will.  Now happy tweeting!