Sticks and stones may break bones, but 140 characters can do a whole lot more damage.
While Twitter can be a powerful social networking and marketing tool, hasty posts on site sometimes get pretty expensive. Misfired tweets have ended careers, led to huge fines, and most recently upended a murder trial. As reported this week in the Wall Street Journal, that case and others across the country highlight how Twitter and other types of social media are disrupting the jury trial.
The problem with Twitter, say experts, is that immediacy and informality -- the site's greatest strength -- are also its greatest dangers. "When you choose to communicate on Twitter, you choose to move your private thoughts to a [public] stage," saysDerrick Daye, managing partner at LA-based consultancy The Blake Project. As a result, he says, "an ill-judged tweet can be extremely expensive."
While Twitter can be a powerful social networking and marketing tool, hasty posts on site sometimes get pretty expensive. Quentin Fottrell has details on The News Hub. Photo: Getty Images
And in many cases, there's no turning back once you hit "tweet." Attempts to delete tweets are often too late (just ask fallen congressman Anthony Weiner). Millions more of these brief musings will live on for posterity, enshrined in an archive being created by the Library of Congress. "Public Tweets are a public and permanent record," says Daniel Post-Senning, great-great grandson of the grand dame of etiquette Emily Post.
And the growing awareness of Twitter's pitfalls doesn't seem to be diminishing the number of mistakes. Even Oprah Winfrey, who's normally able to move from one medium to the next with ease, recently stumbled. The world's 14th most powerful woman -- according to Forbes Magazine recently tweeted asking those with a Nielsen box to tune into her TV network. It's against Nielsen policy to influence ratings. Winfrey, who has over 9.5 million followers, deleted it at the request of Nielsen, and there have been no other ramifications. But her near miss shows how even those accustomed to the public eye need to tread carefully online.