Twitter, instructions not included

I made a post earlier about how I felt my twitter was “alive” and I am starting to realize that what I thought to be a completely irrational fear is more real than I previously thought. I just finished reading an article about employees of major companies becoming a risk factor

While this wasn't horrible, mistakes were still made

just by owning a twitter and then posting things that shed a negative light on the business.

I was already well aware of the Kenneth Cole fiasco and I have heard of several others, but I definitely didn’t think it to be as widespread as the post made it seem.  I’ve heard it from practically everybody in the professional world over the age of 25 that I should be very aware of what I post online, but it is surprising to think that some people completely ignore this concept. Many of my classmates hike up the privacy settings on their Facebook, but it seems that new lessons have to be relearned at the dawn of every new social media.

Maybe twitter just makes it easier to be stupid, I mean people see a 140 character limit and you don’t really think about how much harm you could do in only 140 characters. That sentence alone was 171 characters including spaces.

When I first looked at Twitter it seemed like it was such an innocuous entity. I had heard a lot about its popularity before even seeing the sight, but for some reason I feel that when I look at twitter I feel like I’m staring at an online game. With all the tweets, retweets, who follows you, who you follow, and all the other random attention you can receive it’s hard not to get caught up in the flurry of activity.

It could be that Twitter actually makes people stupid. When people walk into a retail store everything from the lighting to the music is meant to illicit a buying sensation and maybe twitter is the social media equivalent. It encourages you to share a sound bite, but neglects to mention it is holding a megaphone.

Maybe the next step in social media education should be focused on teaching people social awareness rather than how to actually use the technology?

Photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg via flikr

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