I’ve posted before on the perils of fast-twitch hell, the thoughtless knee-jerk social media behaviour sparked by the desire to be fast and first. Now it seems we must either educate, or keep an unsleeping eye on our young social media managers, one of whom mistook a picture of the exploding space shuttle Challenger for a cool cloud formation – and posted it on American Apparel’s Tumblr blog.
In October 2012, I discussed why careless retweeting is a reputation killer. I gave five reasons to check out a link before retweeting the post that provides it:
Five Reasons to Check a Link Before Retweeting
- The retweeter may not have read the post.
- The post may not be about what you think it is about.
- The post may contain views to which you do not subscribe.
- The post may contain remarks that are defamatory or actionable (this has landed more than one retweeter in legal trouble).
- The post, or the comments following it contain offensive language that you would not, yourself, use online.
Obviously the same rules that apply to retweeting links also apply to republishing graphic images (and that’s not even dealing with copyright issues). Of course, American Apparel has apologized profusely and taken down their employee’s post.
Human Judgement is More Important than Ever
With so many ways to copy and pass on information instantly, applying human judgement before we pass it on is more – not less – important. Vetting material and not just tossing it over the wall at our audience is part of content curation, and we all want to be recognized as doing it well.
Is there a chance that by being more careful we might appear less quick, less clever, less up-to-the minute, less cutting edge? Of course. But that’s a whole lot less expensive than looking like insensitive troglodytes.