For every David Pogue who shows us what smart tweeting can do, there are loads of others who demonstrate their capacity for monumental Twitter gaffes. It’s kind of amazing how much damage 140 characters or less can do, so let’s take a tour, shall we? Whether you’re looking for a learning lesson for the kiddies, want to entertain yourself with other people’s woes, or just simply curious, take a gander at the following and let it be a cautionary tale.
First thing’s first: As the Summer Games are still under way, here’s a peep at what Olympic-size fails look like:
The Gods must be facepalming right now: Oh, Greece. You’ve had some serious woes and could’ve used some national pride to lift those spirits, no? Too bad you’ve got triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou tweeting asinine bits like this: “With so many Africans in Greece, the West Nile mosquitoes will be getting home food!!!” The profoundly stupid message got Papachristou banned from participating by the Hellenic Olympic Committee, which didn’t find the joke funny.
Cruel intentions: Seems a 17-year-old in the U.K. got his mean on when he invoked British swimmer Tom Daley’s dad to put him down following his and teammate Pete Waterfield’s fourth-place finish in the 10-meter synchronized diving. He tweeted: “You let your dad down i hope you know that.” If that seems mild compared to the smack talk other athletes put up with, it might have been… if Daley hadn’t lost his father last year to brain cancer. The incident is more than just a matter of “boys will be boys” however; according to the U.K.’s Communications Act 2003 s.127, making malicious or threatening online statements is a chargeable offense, and the teen has reportedly been arrested.
No love for these funk Seoul brothers. Isn’t Switzerland supposed to be neutral? Someone should’ve told Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella, who — enraged by the team’s loss to South Korea last Sunday — tweeted: “Je les tous Defonce Coréens, allez vous tous Bruler, bande de trisos.” Translated, that means: “I want to beat up all South Koreans! Bunch of mentally handicapped retards!” (Uh, Samsung and LG might beg to differ, but whatever…) The Swiss Olympic Committee sent Morganella packing Tuesday, and there are calls for him to be banned from the games.
But the Olympics aren’t the only theme for Twitter blunders. Career-ending tweets can happen so easily when you’re being careless, like…
Former NY Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner (of course). Who could forget Weinergate? Talk about your epic typos.His huge “DM fail” last year consisted of one measly little letter: He used “@” instead of “D.” So instead of direct messaging lewd images of himself to his intended female recipient — who, um, was not his wife — the Congressman lived up to his name and accidentally shot those nasty pics into the public. D’oh! He’s reportedly still married (and a new father), but he’s definitely keeping a low profile and staying far, far away from politics, the public eye and Twitter.
Cisco would-be employee “@theconnor.” When Twitter user @theconnor was offered a job at the renowned tech company, she immediately posted about the dilemma wracking her mind: “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” But it wasn’t long before the choice was made for her. Cisco Channel Partner Associate Tim Lavad saw the tweet and shot back: “Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.” Indeed. The company wound up pulling the offer.
Chrysler’s Social Media Rep. Followers were shocked when a tweet from @ChryslerAutos went out, saying “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f***** drive.” The offender wasn’t a Chrysler employee though, but a New Media Strategies representative who apparently mixed up the client account with his personal one. Oops. Needless to say, that rep doesn’t have to drive to work anymore.
So what did we learn? Think before you tweet. There’s always someone watching, and all it takes is one hot-headed moment, one typo, one brain hiccup, and you could go down in online history as one of the lamest twits in Twitterland.