Individuals are not the only ones who can ruin an image via social networking websites. Tweets especially can be misunderstood if not written clearly in the less than 140 messages that anyone can see. Sensitivity and clarity are two of the most important aspects to remember when using social media.
Otherwise, you could end up like Kenneth Cole whose insensitive tweet about Cairo quickly became one of the most popular tweets during the revolution in Egypt. Cole and his company will forever be remembered for his insensitivity by some.
We've had some epic social media failures. Anthony Weiner is not the only one who didn't give enough thought to the unintended recipients of his private information. A Canadian woman lost her disability benefits when Facebook vacation pictures contradicted her claims of debilitating depression. Divorce lawyers now frequently monitor Twitter and Facebook posts to find dirt on their clients' exes, to be used in alimony and child custody negotiations. One mom even lost custody of her children because her Facebook profile showed she was spending too much time on Farmville. And not a day passes without a handful of people's poor social media judgment getting them fired (for posting party pictures on alleged sick days, for example), or simply not hired (most employers shy away from candidates whose profile pic includes a bottle of tequila in each hand, Cinco de Mayo or not).
Companies, even those with stellar public relations records, often make similar social media gaffes. Consider this tweet from Kenneth Cole (@KennethCole) during the height of the revolution in Egypt: "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://www.bit.ly/KCairo -KC." Unsurprisingly, the insensitive remark was re-tweeted like wildfire, drawing contempt from thousands.In all of the above cases, the blunder occurred because of a failure to realize the breadth and depth of social media. Your boss, your constituents, your customers, and yes, even your ex-wife's divorce lawyer are all connected to you.
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