It’s amazing how 140 characters can have such an impact on your career. Now that we live in a world where “Google before you tweet” is the new “think before you speak,” we all know how important it is to digest a witty thought before broadcasting it into the universe.
The next time you feel the tingle to tweet your profound opinion, here are some examples of why you should think of the long-term implications of writing your short sentence.
10. Cairo in a Tizzy for Kenneth Cole
While Kenneth Cole’s new collection wasn’t quite as exciting as the Egyptian riots, Kenny C used the opportunity to springboard him and his brand into a PR nightmare. Protestors even attached the tweet-gaff onto the window of the downtown New York store.
Re Egypt tweet: we weren’t intending to make light of a serious situation. We understand the sensitivity of this historic moment -KC
— Kenneth Cole (@KennethCole) February 3, 2011
9. The Gleek Springs a Leak
After overhearing who will be crowned prom king and queen on an upcoming episode of Glee, actress (and recurring extra on Glee) Nicole Crowther decided to leak the news early on her Twitter feed.
Glee writer, producer and creator Brad Falchuck was pissed. Instead of ignoring the leak, which would have just been a blip on the social media radar, the leader of the Gleeks replied to Crowther’s message (validating her rumor and ruining her career) with this tweet:
@nicolecrowther hope you’re qualified to do something besides work in entertainment.
— BradFalchuk (@BFalchuk) April 17, 2011
Crowther’s Twitter account says she still works in “the biz,” but fears the acting career she’s always dreamed of “will never become a reality.”
8. Sarah Palin “Refudiates”
To reeducate you on the refudiate debate, Palin’s original tweet was “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.” One of her aids Palin pulled the tweet down later, tweeting:
“Refudiate,” “misunderestimate,” “wee-wee’d up.” English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!
— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) July 18, 2010
What’s the problem with making up new words? Normally, something like this isn’t that damning for the typical tweeter, but when one of your party’s platforms is to demand that immigrants speak English, goofing up the language you’re forcing people to speak doesn’t go over well with the press.
7. Motor City Twitter Meltdown
The world is full of bad drivers. Scott Bartosiewicz wanted to remind us of this mundane fact by ranting on his personal Twitter account. One problem: he was still signed into the @ChryslerAutos corporate account.
@ChryslerAutos followed up this tweet with:
Their resolution? Fire Bartosiewicz and refuse to renew their social media contract (reportedly worth over $100,000).
6. Mind Like a Scientist, Arm Like a Damn Rocket
If there’s one thing we should all know, don’t drink and tweet… especially if you’re racist. Former baseball pitcher and former radio producer Mike Bacsik is our shining example. After a few drinks, Bacsik gave us his best Kenny Powers impression during a Mavericks-Spurs game with this tweet:
Bacsik was fired from his radio station the following Tuesday.
5. Bing Binged It Bad When Supporting Japan
The Microsoft search engine posted this tweet shortly after the Japanese earthquake in March, 2011:
What started as an effort to help Japan quickly mutated into a PR meltdown. It turns out that the tweeting public is pretty savvy, so when you try to seize a natural disaster as a marketing opportunity, people will see right through it. Once the hashtag #F–kYouBing started trending, Bing knew it was time to send out an apology: “We apologize the tweet was negatively perceived. Intent was to provide an easy way for people to help Japan. We have donated $100K.”
4. Mocking the Attack on Lara Logan
Nir Rosen was a journalist and fellow at the NYU Center on Law and Security… that was until he tweeted, “Lara Logan had to outdo Anderson. Where was her buddy McCrystal.” When reporter Lara Logan was sexually assaulted during the riots in Cairo, Rosen was critical of Logan’s reporting, insisting that she was trying to top CNN anchor Anderson Cooper’s coverage of the event by getting too close to the action. Rosen refers to Logan’s brutal attack as almost an “I told ya so” moment, implying that she shouldn’t receive our sympathy because she was a “major warmonger.”
Rosen later tweeted, “it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too,” which refers to the knee-slapping hilarity that would have ensued if we found out Anderson Cooper had also been sexually assaulted during the riots. Rosen apologized and resigned from his fellowship within 24 hours. While he deleted most of his tweets, this still remains in his feed:
on the job you get used to making jokes about our own death, other people’s deaths, horrors, you forget that you sound like a dick at home
— nir rosen (@nirrosen) February 16, 2011
3. Gilbert Gottfried Gets Aflacked
When Aflac signed Gilbert Gottfried to be their spokesperson, they should have known what they were getting into. Remember, this is the same guy who joked, “I have to leave early tonight, I have to fly out to L.A. I couldn’t get a direct flight, I have to make a stop at the Empire State Building.” He said this three weeks after 9/11.
Gottfried has a twisted sense of humor sometimes, so it wasn’t out of character for him to tweet jokes like:
Surprised or not, Aflac wasn’t delighted. It turns out that Aflac is the top foreign insurance company in Japan and earns 75% of its revenue from that market. Gottfried might have been dumb about his tweets, but Aflac probably shouldn’t have hired the comedian in the first place.
2. Chris Brown’s Twitter Trend
We all know Chris Brown isn’t the most eloquent Twitterer. He’s even told his fans to F-off a time or two. But when people started reacting to Brown’s 2012 Grammy appearance, society hit a new low. Without getting into too much detail about Chris Brown’s relationship with Rihanna (or my opinion on domestic violence), here are some of the most disturbing tweets from Chris Brown’s fans:
1. Weiner’s Weiner
Winner of the Trojan’s boner of the year award for dumbest tweet, Anthony Weiner’s erect boxer picture taught us all why a Twitter direct message still isn’t private.
Famous enough for a Wikipedia page, the Anthony Weiner Sexting Scandal started when Weiner sent a picture of his underoos to a 21-year-old female college student in Seattle, WA. The picture and screenshots of the original message were sent to conservative blogger and published the next day.
Weiner claimed his Twitter account was hacked:
As it turns out, sending a picture of his privates wasn’t a one-time thing on Anthony Weiner’s bucket list. He did it a lot. Weiner admitted to the whole ruse when a different shirtless picture surfaced. Two weeks later, he resigned from his seat in Congress.
— Anthony Weiner (@RepWeiner) June 1, 2011
These people failed for a variety of reasons. Some tried to take advantage of a current event with an ill-timed joke. Others didn’t own up for their mistakes and paid dearly for it.
Ultimately, what all ten of these tweeters share in common is their lack of foresight. Don’t ever forget that the Library of Congress takes record of every tweet. Ever. The next time you tweet just another short sentence, keep in mind the whole world can see it and they might just retweet it.