March 3, 2009

Silly Out-of-Context Tweets — Can They Hurt?

published this at 8:30 am

Ever heard someone describe something you weren’t prepared to hear about? Ever had it happen online? Ever had one of your random “tweets” show up in a Google Search or a Google Alert?

Tabz said: @lizstrauss Yep. Some of my random tweets show up in Google Blog Search.. it’s weird.

Aruni said: @lizstrauss yes, it’s weird. I’ll get a Google Alert with one of my tweets but it’s not consistent…

It can be weird. It can be funny. But the potential of words out of context doesn’t feel good. We know what we meant, but not everyone who see those out-of-context words would.

Imagine how a random tweet might seem to folks who just dropped in to see who we are, to get reference, or to explore some social media topic our comment was in. It’s probably a good thing most clients or family wouldn’t start with Google Blog Search or a Google Alert.

Can silly out-of-context Tweets hurt?
The Internet has a long memory and no eraser.

Andrew Lightheartsaid Re: Alerts – it does worry me a little. I *try* to not say anything too out there just in case…

Twitter is discoverable in court.
Twitter is findable by Google.
Twitter is more than 140 characters that float away on the stream.

As the phrase goes, I’m just sayin’ … what do you say to that?

–ME “Liz” Strauss
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Filed under Marketing /Sales / Social Media, Successful Blog | 11 Comments »

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11 Comments to “Silly Out-of-Context Tweets — Can They Hurt?”

  1. March 3rd, 2009 at 8:45 am
    Dennis Bjørn Petersen said

    I get your point. You can’t say what’s on your mind because someone might pick that up.

    I guess the worst thing that could happen is they find out, that you have a sense of humour 😉

    As with everything you write on the internet, you should always give it some consideration.

    I think random tweets add some spice to twitter and I’m a big fan of writing them from time to time.

  2. March 3rd, 2009 at 9:25 am
    Andy Hoffman said

    If you begin to censor your tweets, do you stop being authentic?

    Perhaps some censorship is good. For example, there are times when I want to call a person a flying fliptard, but what good would that do?

    In both real life and online, I firmly stand behind what I say and do. I may change my mind on issues. I am human so it does happen. Unfortunately, the internet does not reflect that very well.

  3. March 3rd, 2009 at 10:49 am
    Robert Hruzek said

    Powerful food for thought, Liz! To many times we hide behind the excuse that “hey, that’s just the way I am”. But unfortunately our culture is changing right before our eyes.

    All the more reason to remember that what we say, whether online or off (but in the hearing of others) is basically “on the record”.

    I think we need to understand the changing culture we live in, and this is a key element of it.

    I’m just sayin’…

  4. March 3rd, 2009 at 1:00 pm
    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach said

    I always ensure my tweets reflect me….if I’m embarrassed about something, I simply refrain from tweeting about it.

    That being said, I have received a number of questions asking what’s with it with the mooses…. :)


  5. March 3rd, 2009 at 1:19 pm
    Barbara Hartsook said

    You raise a good point, Liz…

    A piece of any conversation taken out of context can damage. I guess it’s a hazard (and a risk) of speaking publicly. If someone wants to, (s)he can destroy you with your own words — in court or in the press or in the coffee shop.

    So, do we stop talking? Or simply use our public voices when we speak? Censor ourselves, or as our parents taught us, think before we speak?

    Something to think about though, as we type and tweet.

    I’m just sayin’… :)

  6. March 6th, 2009 at 6:54 pm
    Andrew Lightheart said

    And then your tweet gets quoted by the great Liz Strauss…



  7. March 14th, 2009 at 8:38 pm
    Aruni said

    Great seeing you today at the SXSW Microsoft Blog Lounge. :-) You look awesome!

    I’ve seen less random tweets in Google Alerts…bet they read your blog!

  8. April 8th, 2009 at 12:16 am
    Twitter is a Public Way to Have a Private Conversation | The Blog Herald said

    […] very right. In “Silly Out-of-Context Tweets — Can They Hurt?” Liz Strauss brings up the “elephant in the room” that describes much of what […]

  9. April 8th, 2009 at 12:56 am
    Twitter is a Public Way to Have a Private Conversation « BLOGCHINA.ME said

    […] very right. In “Silly Out-of-Context Tweets — Can They Hurt?” Liz Strauss brings up the “elephant in the room” that describes much of what […]

  10. April 19th, 2009 at 7:11 am
    Mattb4rd said

    I love OOC stuff, especially double entendre material, but it can be a problem for some.

    I used to keep a notepad on my desk when I was playing World Of Warcraft and would write down things that other players would say. I posted them on the group’s private forum and added that I would remove any quote that embarrassed or offended the person quoted.

    Surprisingly, a few did ask me to take them down, which I did of course. I later archived them on my blog here:

    The point is that one man’s treasure is another’s trash.

  11. April 19th, 2009 at 7:14 am
    Mattb4rd said

    Oops .. I meant to indicate that I archived only the approved quotes. My prior comment seems to indicate that I published them all.

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