2011 was the year of Twitter catastrophes. From big brands to celebs to politicos and beyond, we saw dozens of folks who ought to know better take a tumble on Twitter. The common problem? Tweeting before thinking. Journalists, comedians, actors and officials alike all learned the hard way in 2011 about Tweeting ridiculous statements and then having to clean them up later. So we writers and social media marketing mavens have all learned how to use Twitter for good now and are no longer thoughtlessly tweeting, right?
Not so much. In fact, the “tweet now, apologize later” epidemic is alive and well in 2012, with CNN’s Roland Martin being the year’s biggest offender so far. According to The New York Times, Martin was suspended from his position at CNN after tweeting during the Super Bowl that “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl.” This nationally-syndicated columnist and CNN reporter should have guessed that some folks might have been offended by the arguably homophobic (and definitely ignorant) remark. The longtime journalist should have remembered that human rights groups have hired watchdogs who comb Twitter for offensive tweets. But the point is Martin didn’t. As it usually goes with this type of stuff, Martin was roasted by gay advocacy groups and then issued a sheepish, if forgettable, apology. Martin called his remarks “regrettable and offensive,” but he was still benched from his gig at CNN.
The lessons here are rich and apparently ones we need to continue to keep learning as our relationship with Twitter for business grows. Your brand’s tweets are read and the more followers you have, the more accountable you have to be with them. Twitter is the most light hearted and enjoyable of the social media marketing platforms for sure… but we still have to watch what we tweet. “Pulling a Roland Martin” can be avoided if you pause, re-read and think about your audience before you send. If there’s a question that somebody might take your tweets the wrong way, you’d be better off deleting.
But let’s hear from you: Have you ever had the wisdom to halt in the nick of time? Tell us in the comments below!