Weinergate. It’s a social media crisis and potential career-ender for Congressman Anthony Weiner.
How did it get so out of control? And what should you do if you or your company experiences a social media crisis of your own?
A little background about Weinergate…
Congressman Anthony Weiner of the 9th District in New York City, sent a tweet containing a “lewd photo” on Friday, May 27th to a 21-year-old college student in Bellingham, WA. According to some reports, the tweet was only online for about four minutes before it was deleted from the Congressman’s official Twitter account. The next day he claimed his Twitter and his Facebook accounts were hacked. However, 10 days later Rep. Weiner confessed to sending the photo and stated that he would not resign because of it. And as of today, the Congressman hasn’t yet turned in his keys.
That is the meat and potatoes of the story.
So what can you do to avoid a social media crisis like Weinergate? It’s very simple.
- 1. Do not, under any circumstances, take pictures of yourself in a questionable manner with your smartphone.
- 2. If you do, for some odd reason, have a picture taken of you that is of a questionable manner (that you took yourself), for God’s sakes don’t put it on the internet.
- 3. If you do, for some odd reason, have a picture taken of you that is of a questionable manner (that you took yourself) and you put it on the internet, whatever you do, don’t broadcast it (even privately) on your social media channels.
- 4. And if you do, for some odd reason, have a picture taken of you that is of a questionable manner (that you took yourself), put it on the internet and broadcasted it on your social media channels – fess up, apologize and tell people it will never happen again. Do not, under any circumstances, lie about it.
It’s my assumption (and many others) that Weiner meant to send the photo of himself in his underwear with an erection to this 21-year-old college student as a private, direct message via Twitter, and not as a tweet for all his followers to see.
Bottom Line: If you’re a public official, brand, company, or someone just like you and me, be careful about what you put on the internet. We tell clients to be transparent and open in social media, and Weiner accidentally took that to a whole new level. To some, Weinergate isn’t all that big of a deal, but to others it’s totally inexcusable behavior. But the bottom line remains, be careful about what you put on the internet.