Truth time: I’ve vented on Twitter with tweets that included some swear words a time or two. These were mostly related to the outcome of sporting events. I’ve admitted this in the past, but it’s relevant to talk about for this week’s lecture, “Broadcasters Behaving Badly.”
I work in media, but I’m mostly a behind-the-scenes gal, so I didn’t really think that my venting-about-sports tweets were too harmful until a few years ago. My tweets that contained expletives after one unfavorable sporting event’s outcome took one of my former colleagues aback. That made me think, “well, maybe I did go too far” and I ended up deleting the offending tweets. Of course, I did not mean to offend: I was just using Twitter as I always had, to vent.
So, if I get called out for bad behavior by any of my 1,300+ followers, the same will surely happen for celebrities who have millions more followers, right? Rumors and speculation can even get started as a result of their posts. Because the content they create is so heavily scrutinized, even the most innocuous of celebrity posts suddenly become misconstrued into something else (like Hollywood Life making the jump that Khloe Kardashian is pregnant because she posted an Instagram picture where she’s holding her stomach).
Whether they like it or not, notable individuals’ social media posts now become the subject of news and blog articles. This is because Twitter has cut out the middleman — the celebrity publicist — allowing celebs a platform to talk directly to their fans and everyone else. Twitter has made us all feel like we are able to take a peek into the personal lives of the well-known figures that we follow.
Not only do broadcasters and celebrities have to be careful about misunderstandings in their personal life, they have to take care to watch what they say, as they could jeopardize their professional interests as well. In 2011, comedian Gilbert Gottfried lost his gig as the voice of the Aflac duck for firing off a series of tweets about the Japanese tsunami that Aflac senior vice president and chief marketing officer Michael Zuna said “were lacking in humor.”
Even politicians make Twitter gaffes, like Texas state Sen. Dan Patrick, who tweeted that marriage was between “one man & one man” when he meant to say “one man & one woman.” Whoops.
I think that Justin had it right in lecture this week, as he gave us the rule of thumb “if you wouldn’t broadcast it on air, don’t post it.” As for me, I can’t promise to always be perfect on social media, because I’m not a perfect person. I might be feeling down and vent about it. However, I will definitely think more than twice before I hit the send button on anything