Unless you're a Martian then I'm pretty sure you've heard about Twitter. Surely, if you've turned the telly on in the last few months, there would have been some indication of this social networking phenomenon that has taken the world by storm. Even David Cameron uses it, it's that cool (or not).
Anyway, many billions of 'tweets' as they're called are sent through the system every day from the inane to the ridiculous and sometimes being mildly amusing every now and then. Indeed sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll happen across one that is even quite interesting and maybe even useful .
Yes, what I'm trying to say is that most of what goes on in Twitter is nonsense. Now this leads some people into a false sense of security and they believe that maybe nobody is really reading their tweets so they say something a little bit … incendiary?
One such tweet sent out in January from Paul Chambers from Yorkshire got him into a whole load of trouble when he said the following:
Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get … together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!
Oh how is followers laughed !! All except for an off-duty manager at the airport who read it and reported it to the police.
Once criminal conviction later and Paul was fired from his job and fined £ 1000 for his trouble. This little rant has had a profound effect on this poor fella's life as he was found guilty of an offense against the Communications Act 2003.
So what can we learn from this? Do we really have the freedom to say and do as we please in today's switched on society? Well, it appears not, and this could do more than just damage you personally, this could prove disastrous for your company or brand.
Many of us have Facebook and Twitter accounts that are connected with our day-to-day lives at work and as such, anything we say is associated with them. Your views and opinions are probably not the same as the person sat next to you, let alone the business as a whole which highlights the importance of keeping your social networking separate to business.
This is something we highlight when talking to clients who are looking to use social media to promote their business. If you can, keep a separate account to tell everyone about your weekend exploits, weddings and any fake bomb alerts that take your fancy and keep your business postings well out of the way.
There is great deal to be gained from social media but the rug can be rolled very easily if you're a bit careless with your comments. I'm sure this 'Big Brother' state is not what we expected, but unfortunately it's what we've got so unless you're the sort who wants to take on causes and start a revolution, it's probably best to keep your tweets Safe and err on the side of caution.