Why to be careful what you “like,” featuring RGIII

Alright, so this one isn’t a political fail at all, but it’s still a very important lesson for public officials on social media – and really anyone.  The lesson is this: Be careful what you like.

Robert Griffin III is a quarterback for the Washington Redskins who was recently demoted to backup after a variety of issues pertaining to performance, relationship building and accusations of immaturity.  This decision, of course, was not appreciated by some Redskins fans, who naturally took to social media to blast their team.  One such example was on Instagram:

View this post on Instagram

As a Skins Fan I'm disappointed in the way my team used this mans talent and potential to do nothing but raise hopes and make a profit. I don't regret the skins grabbing RG, I do regret having a sorry ass team owner and sorry ass front office who couldn't put a winning coaching staff together who could actually compete for a super bowl. Griffin does not deserve the blame or bad rap, the man has gone above and beyond since day one to the point of injury, while at the same time being a role model of a person. The Redskins let him fall and did not help him get up. No matter if he's a starter, back up, or played for another team I will always respect and be a fan of RG3. #HTTR #Loyalty #ImpeachDanSnyder #Redskins #redskinsnation #DC #NFL @rgiii @espn @nfl

A post shared by Prints Available to Order (@xtramambosauce) on

Strong words, but from a fan, where words like this are a dime a dozen (that’s not a criticism, that’s just a sports fact).  So, what’s the problem?

RGIII liked the post.  And, given the wording which bashed the Redskins management and ownership, that was not a good idea.

In a followup post on Instagram, RGIII “set the record straight,” and used an old standby – he blamed the intern:

Well, who knows, that may very well be the case.  Regardless, a silly mistake by an organization which is currently swamped with disaster upon disaster, which most recently included the wife of Scot McCloughan, Redskins General Manager, directly obscene tweets to a reporter.

The lesson?  You have to be so careful on social media that you need to even watch what you like, as these clicks can easily come back to haunt you.

Lidiane Leite

Corrupt Brazilian Mayors runs city via WhatsApp, posts evidence on Instagram

This one is just a train wreck of social media disaster.

Lidiane Leite, 25, was the Mayor of Bom Jardim, Brazil.  Bom Jardim is one of the poorest cities in the country. Leite was elected in 2012, after her then boyfriend, Beto Rocha, was barred from running for Mayor after being accused of corruption.

You can probably imagine where this is going: Leite is on the run, accused of public corruption when an investigation from the government discovered that $4 million was missing from the public school system.  Meanwhile, at the same time, Leite had been posting pictures of her on Instagram, enjoying a lavish lifestyle.  Pictures apparently including Leite with her personal trainer, sipping champagne and partying.  She uploaded captions like:

“Before I was mayor I was poor, and had a Land Rover.  Now I’m in a Toyota SW4. I should have bought a better car, because thanks to God money is no longer a problem.”

Some news outlets have taken to calling Leite the “WhatsApp Mayor,” because it seems that her job as Mayor was limited to regular WhatsApp messages to her cabinet.  Said her lawyer, Carlos Barros, “She was too young and inexperienced when she took office. She lacked confidence and delegated many tasks to Mr Rocha.”

So much fail in one entry, it’s almost impossible to contain.

Tweets and Consequences

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Social Media growth

New Pew report looks at social media demographics among Americans

A new Pew report is out; the report takes a look at social media use in America.  It’s findings, as always, help to illuminate the state of social media.

I would highly recommend that you check out the entire report, but from my perspective at least, here are the major findings and insights:

  • Messaging Apps are growingwith 36% of all smartphone users using such an app, and 17% using an app which automatically deletes a message.  Users of these apps tend to be younger than 29, college educated and live in an urban area.
  • Facebook growth has slowed, but that’s largely a result of it having less room to grow.  Pinterest and Instagram continue to grow at high rates; Twitter’s growth has completely plateaued, and LinkedIn has actually shrunk….?
  • In terms of demographics of specific platforms:
    • Facebook is more popular among women than men.  Users are also young and have high levels of income.
    • Pinterest has the highest gender disparity of all networks (44% of women vs. 16% of men).  It’s users are young, less wealthy than Facebook and more suburban/rural than urban.
    • Instagram is the most popular network for racial minorities.  It’s users are overwhelmingly young.
    • LinkedIn has a strikingly even gender ratio, older users, and the most educated and wealthiest user base.
    • Twitter users are relatively even across important demographic variables, except for geographic location, which skew urban.
  • In terms of frequency of use, Facebook does the best, followed by Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

What does this say about the current state of social media?  A few things:

  • Messaging apps are here to stay and should be used accordingly.
  • Serious demographic disparities exist between all platforms, and your social media use should be tailored accordingly.
  • Facebook is still the undisputed king.

Tweets and Consequences

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univisiontrump

Ways to make Donald Trump seem sympathetic: Compare him to the Charleston shooter

Donald Trump recently started a war of words with Univision, the Spanish television station.  The dispute started with Trump’s presidential announcement, when Trump called Mexicans “rapists,” among other insults. Univision, which had previously hosted the Miss USA pageant (which is partially owned by Trump), responded by cancelling it’s agreement to air the pageant, specifically sighting Trump’s racist comments.  From there, Trump said that no Univision staffer would be allowed to use Trump’s golf course in Miami.  Univision responded by saying that employees should not stay in Trump properties while on company business.

In true Trump fashion, Trump also took to Twitter to blast the company:

Alright, fine, we’ve got us some corporate warfare going on here.  That warfare accelerated last week, when Univision President Alberto Ciurana made this post to Instagram:

univisiontrump

The picture on the left, of course, is of Trump.  The picture on the right is Dylann Storm Roof, the man arrested for killing nine people in Charleston.

Not the swiftest post to make, to say the least.

Ciurana removed the post and apologized:

Trump accepted the apology and pledged to work with Univision in the future in order to gain a better understanding of Hispanic issues…haha, just kidding, he explicitly said “Apology not accepted” and said he was going to sue the network for defamation:

“Well, I think it’s disgraceful. I think he should be ashamed of himself.  He immediately deleted it and the lawyers are going to have a field day.”

Until this post, Univision could, very legitimately, claim the high ground in this fight with Trump.  That changed the moment Ciurana made this post.  It was, of course, exceedingly stupid.  Attacking a public figure – and a bafoon – like Trump, is one thing, but you cannot compare him to a deranged racist who murdered nine people.  This was very stupid.  Ciurana probably let his emotions get the better of him.  Please remember: Think before you post!

Tweets and Consequences

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Baseball player benched, then suspended, for using Instagram during a game

It’s something we’ve all probably done: You go to the bathroom and grab your phone, putzing around on Instagram or Facebook.  Well, there are times when social media use is inappropriate.  One of those times is in the middle of a baseball game…that you are playing in.

Unfortunately, Pablo Sandoval, third baseman for the Boston Red Sox, didn’t realize that.  Last Wednesday, during the 7th inning of a game against the Atlanta Braves, Sandoval went to the bathroom, went on Instagram, and liked at least one photo.  He was quickly caught by other users:

This action violates Major League Baseball’s social media policy, which expressly prohibits social media use during a game.  As a result, Sandoval was suspended for one game, a punishment which he accepted. To his credit (not that he really had a choice), Sandoval copped to his in-game Instagram use, took responsibility and apologized:

“I know I [messed] up and made a mistake yesterday. I learned from that. I’m a human being. I made a mistake. I apologized to my teammates, the team, the organization, the fans who support us … I didn’t send a message, I hit the like [button]. I was in the bathroom in the seventh inning. It was the wrong time. I learned from that.”

Not a big deal; mistakes happened, and it was handled well by Sandoval.  And hey, it could have been a lot worse: He could have tweeted during a death penalty trial.  The lesson here, of course, is obvious: There is a time and a place for everything.  Even social media use.

Tweets and Consequences

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J. Crew Executive fired after taking to Instagram to mock those he just fired

J. Crew is an upscale clothing line which is, apparently, having its share of troubles.  The troubles are so bad that, last week, the company laid off 175 employees.

Mass firings are a tragic event, to be taken seriously.  I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to be one of the layoffs, and would think that it would have been extremely difficult to be one of the employees involved in the firing as well, knowing that you were forced into a situation where you had to let go of your friends and colleagues.  Surely, such an event would need be handled with great delicacy and tact, right?

Apparently Alejandro Rhett missed that memo.  Rhett was, until recently, the Vice President of Men’s Merchandising at J. Crew.  The day of the layoffs, Rhett went drinking and uploaded pictures of his evening escapes to Instagram.  He personally uploaded only one picture:

Alejandro Rhett Instagram J. Crew

Hashtags that Rhett used include #nofunhere.  Meanwhile, people Rhett was with uploaded these two pics:

J Crew Instagram photos for David Boyle

J Crew Instagram photos for David Boyle

Some of the less swift hashtags used here include #forthewin #damnitfeelsgoodtobeaganster and #hungergames.

For someone who just laid off friends, Rhett sure seems to be enjoying himself.  And, judging by the hashtags he used and that big ole smile on his face, Rhett seems to not fully grasp the painfulness of the layoffs he just participated in.

Needless to say, Rhett is no longer with J. Crew.  Although J. Crew hasn’t confirmed it, Rhett has apparently been fired from the company.

To some extent, you have to feel bad for Rhett.  Of course the posts he made were exceptionally stupid, and something that needed to be dealt with by his employer.  That being said, the nature of social media is viral, and people are always looking for a new bad guy.  As a result, a stupid post which should have stayed between Rhett and J. Crew, has become international fodder.  This, of course, speaks volumes to the power – and the danger – of social media.

Tweets and Consequences

Like the blog?  Get the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.

Russia says it’s not invading Ukraine – selfies prove otherwise

Selfies can get annoying, and the selfie stick may be the worst invention since the vuvuzela.  However, never in my wildest dreams did I think that selfies would reach the point when they started to affect international affairs.  And yet, as noted by Vox and Vice News:

Vice News’s Simon Ostrovsky, in a new report, tracks the social media postings of a Russian soldier to prove that Putin is lying and that Russia is in fact at war in Ukraine.

The entire story is worth reading; it juxtaposes Ostrovsky in the same positions as a Russian soldier named Bato Dambaev.  The photos show Dambaev near Ukraine, and then IN Ukraine.  In other words, the invasion has, more or less, already begun.

This isn’t the first time I have written about how the stupidity of soldiers is now literally getting people killed; less than two weeks ago, I wrote about how an ISIS selfie resulted in an airstrike on the command compound in which the selfie was taken.  And, in August of last year, a similar story revealed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well.

It’s pretty astounding to me that, in a society as secretive as Russia, the military allows it’s members to hold onto their own personal communication devices.  I would hope that, this being the case, the military (and really, any military!) would make sure to put a premium on training: “Hey, guys, if we are engaged in covert operations, maybe no selfies, mmmm ‘k?”

And yet, here we are.  Who needs military intelligence when you can rely on the egotism of young men?