March 20, 2013
Twitter turns 7 tomorrow, but despite a slew of highly publicized cautionary tales about embarrassing or career-ending uses of social media, people continue to post messages that may come back to haunt them, USA Today reports. An immutable law of human survival — that we learn from our mistakes — seems to have been suspended online, as social media make self-incriminating comments easily publishable, re-tweetable and immortal.
“Social media hasn’t dramatically altered human behavior; it just makes it more apparent,” says Steve Rubel, chief content strategist for Edelman. And with more than 400 million messages now flying across Twitter every day — compared with 2 million a day in 2009 — more people have the opportunity to send tweets they may regret. Twitter users are disproportionately young, and in many cases more adept technologically than socially.
To protect your reputation online, “realize that your image is shaped by what you share,” Rubel says. Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Media, a social-media marketing firm, may have summed up how to use Twitter responsibly: “Tweet and post nothing you wouldn’t want your mother to see.” — Greg Beaubien