No one who uses Twitter is proud of every Tweet that goes out. Your fingers go faster than your brain and you send out a Tweet with something that is misspelled, or auto-correct fills in a word that changes the meaning of a Tweet.
Occasionally the auto-correct issue is a big enough problem that I have deleted the Tweet and resent it out, so that the Tweet is comprehensible. Usually I just let those issues go on by and worry about the next Tweet, especially when I am in the middle of live-tweeting an event.
I know that I have done it, but after about 15 minutes looking for an example, I gave up trying to find a specific one to share. In some ways, Twitter as a medium expects there to be mistakes or unusual abbreviations, because the 140 character limit means that there is no way to always make the message and the desired hash-tags work out right every time. Those kinds of mistakes rarely have a long-term impact on someone’s life though.
This week, we explored several articles that look at just how badly things can go wrong when people forget that Twitter is a public platform, that anyone can see, not just the people who are your official followers. From self-disgraced politician Anthony Weiner to Justine Sacco, the corporate communications professional who made news with a not-so-funny Tweet about AIDs & Africans, (and other people that Jon Ronson interviewed for his article about her career implosion) there are many ways that Twitter missteps negatively impacted the lives of people who don’t understand and use Twitter in a way that protects their privacy.
What is most notable about Sacco’s experience, is that she made a stupid statement, one that would probably cause an eye roll in most social circles, but it is the fact that the Tweets were available to many people who didn’t know her, that led to the issue blowing up into an international Twitter incident.
While there are certainly a lot of things I have said that are stupid and I am not proud of, I have never sent any of them out by Tweet. It is not because I am particularly smart, but my personal experiences include people who have taken my words out of context, and tried to use them to hurt me. I am always aware that there are people out there who might want to hurt me.
So, while I may make spelling mistakes, and I may occasionally be a little more political than is ideal, I am always aware that whatever I send out, it has my name on it, and I am responsible for anything that I write.