Labour MP Tom Watson suffered an embarrassing spate of affairs on Twitter yesterday afternoon, when his intern logged in as him and made an offensive comment.
The intern quickly apologised but the damage was already done. Tom came back from his meeting to find an explosion of retweets from his intern’s ‘offensive’ tweet. Tom made an apology on behalf of her, saying “I sincerely apologise for the recent tweet. A lesson learned for a young intern. She’s also very sorry. I will deal with the matter offline.”
This quickly led to ‘Tom Watson’ and ‘#SavetheIntern’ trending nationwide in the UK. This just goes to show that a few words written by the wrong person can go a LONG way.
No real harm was done, but ask yourself this question: Has this damaged Tom’s reputation?
It may have not damaged his reputation, but it has certainly dented it. He may have gained a few extra followers after the incident happened, but his credibility has certainly gone downhill. People won’t recognise him as an MP, but as the one who had an embarrassing spate of affairs on Twitter.
Many individuals and companies use Twitter to promote themselves or their brand. It’s an easy way to talk to people/customers, to gain followers and increase your persona and credibility. However, social media in the wrong hands can have a disastrous effect (as seen above). Words can be taken out of context and all credibility can be lost within a few minutes. On Twitter especially, news travels like wildfire with people finding out stories in real time, meaning that you have no power at all to take back what you last said or reverse the context.
There should be policies in place within your organisation that create an effective governance structure around your social media activities. The Social Media Governance Toolkit contains a comprehensive suite of documents and templates that will help you develop, implement, monitor and improve social media activities across your organisation. Uniquely, this social media governance toolkit also links to the best practice information security controls contained in ISO/IEC 27001 so you can be sure that all best practices by your employees will be followed.