Social Media Etiquette as Taught by Weiner & Williams

Jun 2011

Ok, by now the Anthony Weiner twitter scandal is old hat.  However, in case you haven’t heard Weiner, NYC Democratic Representative tweeted some inappropriate photos of himself to numerous ladies.  He denied it for a week, had unintentionally hilarious press conferences until he finally broke down and admitted the truth.

His twitter failures present a lesson for us all though.

Twitter is 24/7

He sent the lewd photo out as a general tweet, instead of a DM.   It was up for a second or two, but that was long enough to possibly ruin his political career and dominate a news cycle for more than one week.

Somebody noticed the tweet and saved it.  Somebody is always watching on twitter.

If you have a business account on twitter you must always remember that.  Twitter is a fast moving social media platform that some folks use very flippantly.  Use it that way at your own risk as the internet lives forever.

Who are you following?

After a couple days of Weinergate it came out that he had been having conversations with a porn star.  To make matters worse, he offered said adult actress PR help on answering the media’s questions about the situation.

In order to DM somebody on twitter you need to be following each other.  Why are you following who you are following?   Is it because they followed you?   Following those that simply are following you is lazy and wastes a good follow.  If they’re in your industry or are an influencer in a certain area then that’s great for your business account.

For your personal account you can follow whoever floats your boat.  However, for your business account you need to understand that who you follow reflects on your business.  A politician should not be following porn stars on twitter.

He is not alone

Vanessa Williams also learned a twitter lesson this week.  Vanessa used to work as a social media specialist. She sent out what she thought was an innocuous tweet:  “We start summer hours today.  That means that most of the staff leave at noon, many to hit the links….”.

Unfortunately Ms. Williams did social media work for an agency that has many government workers.  As businesses and the government are out to save money wherever they can; having employees leave early on Friday to play golf may have gone over poorly with taxpayers.

There is a place to fun and silly in your business account, that’s where the personality of it comes in.  However, you also need to know your business and apparently the company where she used to work play their social media straight and narrow.  There is nothing wrong with that, but as a social media person you need to really know your corporate culture.


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