Twitter is a great platform for so many things. We have seen so many breaking news stories, funny videos, and political actions go viral with Twitter, it’s really pretty amazing. I think many people are wising up to the fact that Twitter, along with several other social networks, is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to sharing information. Social media has opened up a world of instant communication that has proven to be beneficial for a great many people.
But (there’s always a but, right?) there’s danger in that instant communication, also. Whether you use Twitter to market yourself or for business, it’s vital to filter what you post just the slightest bit. While social networks are designed to give you the ability to share pretty much whatever you want, whenever you want, it can still be dangerous if you’re not careful.
We’ve seen many stories in recent years about unwanted information posted on Facebook, unflattering or raunchy videos posted on YouTube, and Tweets that were shot off without the user considering what the consequences might be. A relatively recent story sparked my interest when it comes to this topic.
A tech employee named Adria Richards was irritated by a few men behind her making what she considered sexist and vulgar comments during the PyCon developer’s conference that she was attending. Richards did what a lot of us who are active in the social media world would do – she called them out over Twitter. She took their picture and tweeted the topic of their conversation out to her followers. No big deal, right?
Wrong. Richards was fired from her company for her comments. While it may not seem offensive to many people, the company that she worked for, SendGrid, didn’t approve of how she reported what she saw as misconduct from her fellow conference-goers.
So is the lesson here that you need to censor yourself when it comes to posting on social networks? I think the answer is yes, sometimes you do. Richards might have been better off confronting the men herself and letting them know that she didn’t appreciate their comments. Or simply ignored it, assuming that the developers making the comments were jealous of her success, or even just choosing to be childish because they were bored.
One thing is clear though; with the ever-growing popularity of social networking, it is important to remember that anything that you put out there is likely to be seen by many people, and you can’t control who those people are. Perhaps we need a slogan – “Think before you Tweet.” Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?