Developing: People Read Twitter

Shea Anderson / July 25, 2012

The hardest lesson about Twitter, it seems, is that one’s Tweets are available for public view, and possibly, for public shaming. It might seem obvious to most users, but people continue to find out the hard way that their Tweets can come back to nip them. And the Twitter beak is sharp.

Earlier this month the Washington gubernatorial campaign of Attorney General Rob McKenna learned this lesson the hard way when it accepted the resignation of a policy adviser whose pre-campaign Tweets were discovered, and shown to be offensive, by The Stranger, the Seattle alt-weekly.

This week, as The Olympics get underway in London, a Greek athlete is on her way home before the torch arrives in the Olympic stadium. The problem? An offensive Tweet about African competitors.

While celebrities can chuckle about nasty Tweets written about them, anybody who publicly represents a company, campaign or team should consider their Tweets before sending them. Campaign managers frequently tell their staff, “Don’t put anything in an email that you wouldn’t want to read on the front page of the newspaper.” That wise refrain needs a Twitter-era correlary.