Think before you tweet
You’d think that in the wake of recent news concerning the use of Twitter and a politician I won’t even bother naming that people would be more aware of just how viral and potentially damaging a tweet can be. Apparently not however as you can read on a daily basis about people losing their jobs (or not being offered one in the first place), being fined by their employers in the case of numerous athletes or celebrities for 140 character spews and even of felons being found by announcing either their whereabouts or intentions. Twitter is of course for public consumption from the moment you press the small grey tweet box until….well until something eventually replaces Twitter and we forget all about it. I’d hedge a guess that might not be for quite some time.
Creating a Twitter account is easier and quicker than purchasing a cup of coffee these days and the time it takes to write something that could cost you dearly is even less than that. When you create an account there aren’t many rules or guidelines suggested by Twitter, I imagine they anticipate a degree of common sense. My favourite example of stupidity is when people not only write about the place that they work in a non-complimentary manner but also add a #(hashtag) to make doubly sure that their vitriol is easy to find if someone was so inclined. I’m not advocating censorship or controls of any kind on Twitter as it would impede the growth of what has become a really valuable social media tool but I am advocating using your head. If you’re using Twitter to promote a business or a blog, an event or a website be aware that everything you write is fully pressed for public consumption. On Twitter just like everywhere there are people who won’t like your company or your viewpoint, perhaps less like real life people will often then make a point of telling you and the world. I’d assume due to the confidence of semi-anonymity. While many of these people are attention seeking, emotionally deprived hacks who typically could have their contributions to society summed up within 140 characters that isn’t always the case to be fair. Many people may have a legitimate concern and use Twitter to formulate that despite your toll free customer service department service, sometimes people just need to shout or be heard.
Remember always that how you reply can often hold more stock in many circumstances than the complaint itself. Addressing such situations professionally and pro-actively via social media can actually turn a tricky situation into a positive one, offer the opportunity to resolve something via email or phone. At best you may have won yourself a new supporter at worst you’ve shown your ability to rise above. Social media is a two way street with no traffic control, engaging a difficult situation is usually better than ignoring it. I’ve made mistakes too, we all have but remember this always if you tweet something you had second thoughts about or simply made a spelling mistake you can ‘delete a tweet’. That sounds like a remedy for all ills but here is the reality, your deleted tweet still bounces around twitterdom for an unspecified period of time. Certainly hours and often days, a problem that only grows if you were ‘retweeted’.
Just today I saw someone with a reasonable online network, a vaguely influential podcaster/internet radio individual who was prepared to make comments that didn’t just border on being homophobic but took up residence there, needless to say they had no relevancy to the topic at hand. He should have added a #unfollow me. That’s not exactly how I’d look to grow a network and I’m sure similar stories are occurring on the hour every hour. In summary, do give consideration to each of your tweets especially when representing a brand or company. The potential of a quick stumble into anti-social media to then undo all your good work is always lingering.