Spike Lee Takes Us Back to Twitter Basics


On Twitter, all it takes to embarrass oneself is one click of the mouse or tap on a smartphone—combined with a lack of thoroughness and a dose of haste.

It's a lesson Spike Lee learned (or relearned) after he retweeted what he believed to be the home address of George Zimmerman, the Florida man who shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. The address Lee retweeted instead belonged to an elderly couple with no connection to Martin's killer. Lee's 252,000 Twitter followers took that information and ran with it, and the couple received so much hate mail and threats that they temporarily moved into a hotel, according to Fox News and CNN. 

On March 28, Lee issued an apology on Twitter to the couple for recklessly retweeting their address (the original tweet has been deleted). Lee wrote, “I deeply apologize to the McClain Family for retweeting their address. It was a mistake. Please leave the McClains in peace. Justice in Court.”

The communications best practice here is to assume that you fully endorse the content of a retweet and to treat it as if it originated with you, unless the content of the retweet is clearly contextualized. While retweeting can be a great way to participate in a community, share others' ideas and avoid being overly self-promotional on Twitter, retweeting without carefully considering what is being passed on, whether it's a linked article or a statement, can severely damage and embarrass both brands and individuals. To paraphrase the shopkeeper's (and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's) warning: If you retweet it, you own it.


Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg



 




Comments Off

Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' PR Measurement Conference

 prmeasurement2015-dc-175x135

Join us on April 20, 2015, for PR News’ essential PR Measurement Conference at the National Press Club in D.C., and learn how tie PR metrics to measurable business outcomes.

Use code “150off” at checkout to save $150 on the regular rate.

Get $50 off PR News' Book of Employee Communications

employeecommunications-180x150

In this 5th volume of PR News’ Book of Employee Communications, our authors cover more than 45 articles on crisis communications, social media policies, human resources collaboration, brand evangelism and more.

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription

 

Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.