One of the many rules that governs the United States House of Representatives is that you cannot take pictures from the House floor. This rule was unknown by newly elected Representative Mike Bishop, when he sent these tweets last Thursday:
In an exchange with a reporter, Congressman Bishop was informed that his tweets violated the rules:
Bishop then deleted the tweets in question. In a statement, a spokesperson acknowledged what had happened, saying, “In a moment of awe he made an honest mistake, and he won’t do it again.”
Is this a big deal? Of course not – it’s a freshman mistake, and every new member makes mistakes – Representative Bishop just happened to make his on Twitter. What is stupid is the way he handled the aftermath: he deleted the tweets without ever acknowledging their deletion (a basic violation of Twitter transparency), then blocked the head of Politwoops, the organization that captures deleted tweets by politicians. Not quite sure why he thought that would make much of a difference, since others are now paying closer attention to his Twitter feed.
The lesson: social media mistakes happen. The real trick is how you handle the aftermath.