Campaign recently published this article by We Are Social Senior Writer, Josh Burt, examining some classic Twitter errors, and what you should/shouldn't be saying or doing online. They've been kind enough to let us reproduce it below.
Just recently members of the British government have come under heavy tax scrutiny, and tweets of yore have come back to bite them on the backside (yes, we’re talking to you David Cameron). This is “Bad Tweeting 101”, a completely avoidable misfire from the PM.
We’re now officially in the second decade of tweeting. That seems almost unfathomable, it feels so fresh, and yet, even after such a long stretch in the sunshine, certain people - educated people - are struggling to master the basics.
What’s needed here is a refresher course, so we thought we’d run through some of the rules again, just in case you’re still in the dark about what you should/shouldn’t be saying/doing online…
Don’t confuse Twitter with a Google search bar
— Ed Balls (@edballs) 28 April 2011
As the British politician Ed Balls will probably attest to, just unwittingly writing your name into a Twitter feed can morph into an impossible-to-shift and humiliating act of self-sabotage. His defence was that he was absent-mindedly searching for an article posted about him, but that’s where the lesson is to be learned. Take Twitter seriously, and always concentrate on what you’re writing. You could end up looking like a right plum (see also: Goldie Hawn).
Don’t over-estimate your popularity
2014 will forever be the year when Rita Ora seriously misjudged her online clout. To refresh your memory, the X Factor judge had a new single coming out, and thought she’d engage her millions of disciples by declaring that she’d release it the following Monday if she got 100,000 retweets. Fewer than 2,000 retweets later the original message disappeared.
Don’t trust technology
Microsoft ended up with very eggy faces when their AI chatbot Tay morphed into a venomous right-winger spewing forth all kinds of offensive rhetoric.
The poor robot may have been the victim of IRL internet trolls, but the lesson is a powerful one, that stretches even beyond man and his Frankenstein’s Monsters – it’s that you shouldn’t entrust your feed to someone (or something) you don’t have an implicit understanding of. Anything can happen.
Always check your hashtags
The problem when you clump a load of words together behind a hashtag is that they might form other, ruder words without you realizing – just look at Susan Album Party, which looks innocuous enough, until you rid of the spaces, and suddenly Su is having an Anal Bum Party and everyone is invited (#susanalbumparty).
Think of every hashtag as a Countdown conundrum that needs to be carefully studied from all angles and gently prodded with a stick.
Always check that you’ve got the date right
It’s an unspoken truth that big companies will schedule their tweets in advance, which clearly flies in the face of the ramshackle spontaneity of all things Twitter, but that’s just how it is.
The key is to make this as subtle as possible, to not bound into the room clanging a pan, singing Happy Birthday before anyone’s had a chance to say SURPRISE yet.
So, give Tower Bridge a slow hand clap for somehow mistiming New Year. The lesson here is all about attention to detail.
Consider your future
— Lenny Jacobson (@Lennyjacobson) April 17, 2015
The problem with Twitter is that it’s like a gigantic database of your thoughts and opinions that will lurk in cyberspace forever - so bear in mind that, at any time, you could be sucker punched in the nuts by a tweet from the olden days.
Not that Donald Trump seems to remotely care about that kind of thing, of course. But some voters should possibly take note.
And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg, we didn’t have time to explain how Twitter doesn’t always understand sarcasm (which is just brilliant), and you definitely shouldn’t over-hashtag #do #not #over #hash #t #a #g.