8 Shocking (and Hilarious) Social Media Gaffes
I am awestruck at the goofs I see people (supposedly smart and decent people) making online. I could summarize this entire post with this: There is no such thing as a private or personal profile and then a professional one. If it is on the Internet, it ALL better be professional, period. Save your crazy private/personal persona for behind closed doors, with the computer off and the webcam draped. I’m not joking either.
Don’t believe me, believe these folks:
1. What You SAY Can and Will Be Held Against You (forever)
Chicago woman tweets about her moldy apartment and gets sued for $50,000:
“Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon really thinks it’s okay.”
That’s about $575 per character.
Whatever you say online lives forever… sometimes in infamy.
Bonus tip: Careful what you tweet or post after a happy hour!
More to the point: Don’t drunk tweet.
2. You’re on Candid Camera (always)
While discussing budget cuts Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wields a 2-foot-long knife on Twitter. It didn’t go over so well. While he was making light of the situation (better not to try), people didn’t like the idea of getting their job or personal projects cut by his two-foot knife.
Ask Michael Phelps about this one. Just assume that anytime you are out in public (public being even your own friends in a private setting as Michael taught us) that the camera phones are on and rolling.
3. Don’t Make It So Easy for the Criminals
Arizona guy tweets about being on vacation far away from home and gets robbed.
You wouldn’t leave a message on your voice mail that says you are going to be away from your home. You even ask your neighbor to clear off any newspapers that might stack up on your front door so it’s not obvious that you are not home. Why in the heck would you broadcast to the World Wide Web that there is a free-for-all at your house? Just think people. Think.
Oh, and also, don’t lie about where you are. Senator Michael Bennet declined multiple interview requests and told the reporter he was busy, but his gal pal Senator Claire McCaskill tweeted about Bennet at lunch hobnobbing with other reporters, infuriating the reporter for catching him in a lie. That led to not so good press.
Social Media Boot Camp for CEOs:
If you live in or near Atlanta, GA, Boston, MA or Denver, CO:
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4. No PDGs (Public Displays of Griping)
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is slapped with a $25,000 fine for griping about the referees after his team was beat by the Denver Nuggets. Afterward he quipped, “can’t say no one makes money from twitter now. the nba does.” Funny, but still, that’s a costly quip.
If you must gripe, do it Abe Lincoln style—write them a scathing letter, then throw it away. Don’t tweet it.
5. Your Boss Is Watching
High school teacher is forced to resign for pictures on Facebook that showed her drinking alcohol during a European vacation.
17% of U.S. Companies with more than 1,000 workers reported problems with employees’ social media use.
8% have actually terminated employees because of their actions on social media sites.
(translation: A LOT of people are being fired for doing dumb stuff online).
Comparatively, only 4% reported terminating an employee for social media gaffes last year.
(curious: are people getting dumber or are more dumb people coming online?)
6. Your Future Boss, Client, Partner, Vendor, Date Are Watching
Girl gets a job and tweets: “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating my work,” Cisco finds out. Girl loses job.
This kind of idiocy is happening all day every day. Please don’t let it be you. You are smarter—hey, you read this blog, so you must be!
7. You Doh!(t) Know How It Works
New York Times columnist (tech columnist!) David Pogue means to DM someone his phone number, instead RTs it out to his 21,000 followers.
(If you don’t know what I just said, don’t use Twitter until you do)
8. Um, You’re Not Funny
Man is arrested after (dumb) joke about blowing up an airport on Twitter.
Rule #1: Don’t joke about bombing anything; it gives the terror police an itchy trigger finger. Rule #2: Make your joke funny. If you are unsure about #2, go to Rule #3: Leave the jokes to the professionals (comedians).
This is not to dissuade you from using social media and communicating online. But it is a post to enlighten (and warn) you about doing it correctly.
SUMMARY: Stick with these two golden rules of online behavior:
1) There is NOTHING personal or private online. Nothing. Your online life should be 100% professional as 100% of your professional relationships have 100% access to all that ever gets posted online. Do not be fooled by privacy controls or separate group access, etc. It’s all easily accessible, forwarded or found.
2) Filter through Mom. Imagine everything you tweet, post on Facebook or say while anyone has a iPhone or Flip camera nearby that your mother, your boss, your most important client, the IRS and the FBI will see it… because they WILL.
Friends don’t let friends do stupid things. Be a friend, pass these warnings and tips to everyone you know online: http://darrenhardy.success.com/2011/01/8-social-media-gaffs/
Any personal experience (witness or perpetrator) with social media gaffes? Share your story or tips with the rest of us in the comments below.