Social media has helped change the way we use the internet and has brought whole new ways of marketing. Without social media, this site wouldn’t exist. However, all too often, people forget just how big the internet is. Once you tweet something or update your status, that’s it. It’s out there. You can delete it, but there’s no guarantee no one saw it first. This is a lesson that both Chrysler and Aflac recently learned within days of each other.
Chrysler’s snafu was perpetrated by someone with access to the Chrysler Twitter feed. They apparently thought they were using their own account, but inadvertently used the Chrysler one when they complained about traffic in Detroit and dropped the f-bomb. Oops.
Aflac’s issue comes courtesy of Gilbert Gottfried, who somehow thought it would be a good idea to crack jokes about Japan’s recent crisis on his personal twitter account. (Really, Gilbert? Wow.) While the actor eventually took the offending comments off of his page, the damage was done and Aflac unceremoniously canned his ass.
Welcome to the Fishbowl
My grandmother used to say “Fools names and fools faces are often seen in public places.” How right you were, Gram. People forget that the internet isn’t a private place. Period. We’ve talked about privacy on Facebook before. It doesn’t exist there or on Twitter, Myspace or anywhere else online. In a world where everything is a quick Google search away, you need to consider the repercussions of everything you do online.
These are two different examples of social media snafus. With Chrysler, the employee was careless, and in the case of Aflac, their spokesman was an idiot. Yes, it was his personal profile, but that doesn’t matter. When you are a public figure, that’s the price you pay. So how can YOU avoid making a similar mistake?
Separate Accounts? Just Fooling Yourself
I’ve heard of people using separate Facebook accounts, or using FB for work and public and MySpace for personal, but that is still a great way to tempt fate. The Chrysler employee thought he was using one account when in reality it was the other. That could just as easily happen to you. You think your updating your personal profile and the next thing you know, clients and the public are asking you about your date Friday night. Not a good solution.
I don’t have easy access to any of my clients accounts on my phone specifically to avoid this situation. When I mobile social update, I never have to worry, because I know it’s my account, period. I’ve purposely made it so I have no access to client accounts on my phone because this very situation was immediately apparent and avoidable. The guy at Chrysler was an idiot for having such a huge client even near his personal account. Access it from a real computer. It can wait to be updated while you drive to and fro.
Another Simple Solution
Ultimately though, my solution for this is the same as for Facebook privacy concerns. Stop putting things online that will embarrass you! If you wouldn’t say it out loud in front of your church, don’t put it online. That’s why we have phones and email, for sending more personal stuff. And if it’s real personal, tell them in person. I know my clients are going to be friends on Facebook, and that some of them will follow my twitter. I wouldn’t drop the f word in front of them, so I won’t online either. It’s not real hard.
Just THINK before you SPEAK.
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