Vesta Digital Blog

How to Avoid Twitter Mistakes that can Ruin Your Career

Posted on: July 9, 2010

According to Georgina Laidlaw, a columnist for WebWorkerDaily wrote “the prevailing Twitter wisdom is that we should avoid tweeting about ourselves too much, and post information in which others are interested.”

How do we know how much information is too much information on Twitter?

A CNN Editor is learning this very important lesson. It’s not about how much information you publish, it’s about what kind of information you publish.

Octavia Nasr, Senior Editor of Mideast Affairs tweeted on July 4th at 3:24 a.m.:

An explosion of disgust immediately erupted on Twitter. Nasr was forced to admit her mistake and apologize two days later. She attempted to explain the reasoning behind her Twitter blunder through a blog post. Because her credibility and opinions had been severely compromised, Nasr wrote the incident was:

A good lesson on why 140 characters should not be used to comment on controversial or sensitive issues, especially those dealing with the Middle East.”

Soon after, Senior Vice President for CNN International Newsgathering Parisa Khosravi announced that Nasr would be resigning and leaving the company.

Twitter Disadvantages

Since Twitter is a global network comprised of an endless number of demographics, it is important to consider the difficulty of tailoring your message for your audience. Regardless of the neutrality you try to retain, your opinions and messages are published for the global community to see.

So what is the lesson here? Use your 140 characters wisely? Sure. However, the most important lesson to take away from Nasr’s mistake is not to use Twitter to publish statements that require context or explanations. Use blog posts for that type of information.

Remaining completely objective can be a daunting task, especially if you are writing content you are passionate about. Just be sure to keep in mind the ramifications of your actions.

When it’s on the web, it’s always on the web.

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