The Biggest Twitter Faux Pas of All Time
You wouldn’t think that 140 characters gives much room for getting into trouble, but it can happen. Most Twitter accounts are public, meaning that anyone can see what you’ve tweeted. The retweet option means your mistake can go viral extremely quickly. If you have a large audience and make a mistake, deleting the errant tweet may not get rid of it entirely, as the people listed here have learned. When using the microblogging site, learn from their mishaps and remember to keep it polite, avoid tweeting inappropriate content, make sure your message is going to its intended recipient and have some humor if you mess things up.
Charlie Sheen’s Phone Number
In 2011, Charlie Sheen’s phone had a meltdown after he accidentally tweeted his phone number out to his 5.5 million followers. The celeb thought he was sending a private message to Justin Bieber, but instead, sent it as a tweet. The post was taken down swiftly, but not before the number fell into the hands of many of his followers. He received more than 1,800 text messages in minutes. Sheen was said to be in good humor about it, even answering a few phone calls; however, when his phone had a meltdown, he decided to get a new phone and a new number.
No one can forget the Weinergate scandal of 2011 when Rep. Anthony Weiner tweeted a lewd photo of himself to a 21 year old college student in Seattle. The picture of a bulging pair of underpants was said to have been the result of a hack on his account. Later, Weiner admitted that he had sent the photo himself and had engaged in several online affairs with other women. Weiner resigned from his position on June 21, 2011.
In early 2012, McDonald’s sent two tweets using the hashtag #McDStories. The hashtag went viral, but not in the way McDonald’s hoped it would. Instead of tweeting pleasantries and heart-warming stories about the food and experiences at the restaurant, many tweeted horror stories. These included tales of finding fingernails in the food, chipped teeth from eating their sandwiches, and a rusty nail puncturing the foot of one person who played in one of their playhouses as a child.
Personal Tweets from Business Accounts
The Red Cross is a well-respected nonprofit organization that has been around for more than 130 years. Their longevity and strong social media presence don’t mean they’re immune to mistakes, though. In 2011, Gloria Huang, social media specialist, tweeted from the official account that they were #gettngslizzerd on Dogfish Head beer. The Red Cross took the tweet down, but knowing that those things are never actually gone, took a lighthearted approach to the matter. They assured their followers that the Red Cross was sober, and Dogfish Brewery got in on the act encouraging people to make donations and support the efforts of the Red Cross.
Spats in Public
Author Alice Hoffman offered the best lesson in what not to do on Twitter when she became cross with a critic in 2009. Hoffman called the critic, Roberta Silman, a moron and said “no wonder there is no book section in the Globe anymore.” To further escalate matters, Hoffman posted Silman’s phone number to her followers in case they wanted to have words of their own with Silman. At first, she defended her vitriol, but later apologized. She issued the apology through her publicist saying that she was upset that Silman gave away the plot of her novel and that she responded in the heat of the moment.
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