I had just settled into a bar stool at the Honolulu airport waiting for a connecting flight, I was very excited to begin a much needed vacation! I whipped out my iPhone, launched Facebook, and checked into the bar along with a comment about looking forward to “ten days in paradise”. I wondered to myself if it was a good idea to announce that I was at least a thirteen hour flight away from home for the next ten days? While I feel like I have a pretty good handle of my Facebook friends there are a couple of high school acquaintances on my friend list that may have easily taken a wrong turn down the road of life. Did I just make a social media “blunder”….how bad was it?
My announcement that I was away on vacation is pretty small on the grand scale of social media missteps (and I am happy to report that my home hasn’t been looted as of today), what really got me thinking about social media blunders was a January 19th article in the Wall Street Journal “Eva Longoria’s Next Role: Hispanic Activist in Washington”. Ms. Longoria has become quite the political activist and she is trying to achieve the very challenging task of developing a bipartisan following, the article cites the fact that she accidentally angered her conservative following when she “ re-tweeted, or re-sent, someone else’s message describing GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney as “racist/misogynistic” and calling people who would vote for him ‘stupid.’” during the midst of the presidential elections in October. Ms. Longoria initially tried to delete the message but went on to apologize and clarified that these were not her own words.
While Ms. Longoria’s re-tweet was also relatively minor when you contrast it with the Anthony Weiner fiasco lovingly referred to as “Weiner-Gate” it still negated months maybe even years of Ms. Longoria’s hard earned political capital and progress towards a worthwhile cause. Whether it is the aforementioned Anthony Weiner ruining his political career or comedian Gilbert Godfrey losing his job as the voice of the Aflac duck for tweeting insensitive jokes the list of social media blunders and missteps keeps growing and the individuals involved are paying a steep price.
It almost seems like there should be a celebrity edition of SIRI that confirms tweets and Facebook posts “Are you sure you really want to post that”?
My Questions to the class:
- Have you made a social media misstep? What were the consequences?
- Do you think the risks of missteps outweigh the benefits of having a large following and a public podium to voice your opinions?