Think Before You Tweet — A Lesson From the Aflac Duck

March 15, 2011


Social media is proving to be a window to our souls that always stays open. In the last couple days, rapper 50 Cent and actor Gilbert Gottfried have taken heat for insensitive jokes they made on their Twitter accounts about the ongoing tragedy in Japan. In fact, Gottfried was fired as the voice of the iconic Aflac duck for his off-color comments. Aflac is Japan’s largest insurer.

There is nothing new about famous people making stupid comments about the events of the day — or unfamous people doing it for that matter. The difference is that ill-advised comments used to be caught by a microphone that was left open after a political event, a hidden camera or an email that was accidently replied to all.  They were not intended for everyone to hear — not that that makes it any better or less-offensive.

This is different, though. Through social media — primarily Twitter — people are launching their thoughts into the digital universe, often without using the filter that most of us have between our brain and our mouth.

I have a phone in my hand. I want people to think I’m funny. I am watching the news. I am tweeting.

Even if we do not have 2 million followers, we can still ruin our brand, our reputation and even our livelihood in 140 characters or less. So let’s be careful out there, and maybe read it out loud before hitting the send button.



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