Five Things you should Never do on Twitter

For many, tweeting comes as naturally as breathing. No sooner has a half-baked theory, witty observation or nugget of advice popped into their head, is it tapped reflexively into their smartphone and beamed into the eyeballs of the whole procrastinating world. But beware, because there are things you should avoid at all costs.

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Posting a naked selfie

Promising congressman Anthony Weiner’s first mistake was sending an explicit picture of himself (which we delicately described as “waist-down”) in a tweet to a 21-year-old student. Unsurprisingly, the image went viral. He then made a second by spending several days denying it was him in the photo, before finally caving-in to admit having “exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years”. Later he made his third mistake by doing it again. The man really needs a social media advisor, or a hobby.

Of course, female musical artists should ignore this one, as it now seems to be a mandatory marketing strategy.

Threatening to blow up an airport

Paul Chambers was looking forward to a well-earned holiday in 2010 when heavy snowfall looked likely to ground his flight, so he took to Twitter to vent his frustration:

QuoteCrap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your s*** together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!

A week later, a manager at the airport with no detectable sense of humour stumbled across the tweet. Cue a criminal trial for sending a “public electronic message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”, two unsuccessful appeals, lots of noise from comedian Al Murray and Stephen Fry and a final, successful appeal for sanity which quashed the conviction. Yes, it has now been shown that it is legally OK to send such a tweet, but it does still seem like an awful lot of hassle and you may have to spend time with Al Murray.

Admit to running over a cyclist

Last year 22-year-old trainee accountant Emma Way was driving in Norfolk when she collided with a cyclist, then drove off without stopping. Speaking from bitter personal experience, drivers usually get off scot free after doing this, so it was slightly foolish of her to tweet:

Quotedefinitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier. I have right of way – he doesn’t even pay road tax! #bloodycyclists”

Within hours, all the cyclists of Twitter had pounced on her account and forced it into the national news. Last month she was found guilty of failing to stop after a collision and failing to report an accident. The lesson? If you’ve committed a crime, it’s best not to tell everyone.

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