Tweeting on Eggshells
Social networking is a powerful tool for any communications professional. In the past decade we have seen many fast-paced transitions in this sphere, from Myspace and Bebo, to Facebook, Pinterest and multiple blogging services. There is one networking site, however, that stands out from the rest – Twitter. Seen beyond the blue-bird branding, Twitter has become a new tool for media and communication professionals to discover newsworthy leads which have the potential to gain significant reception in any outlet.
For those of you who have not yet entered the tweeting world, Twitter is an online social networking service or to some, a ‘microblogging’ service, that enables users to send and receive messages, generally in 140 characters or less (although there are now applications that allow longer tweets). It is due to the restricted word limit that tweets become immediate and the online world of Twitter becomes a fast-paced medium for communication on a global scale. A good friend once stated, “If you don’t tweet it in 30 seconds, you’re 30 seconds too late.”
With over 500 million active users, Twitter is now a standard go-to for instant updates on news, events and opinions and has the ability to leverage both positive and negative messages. One of the most recent and publicised cases of negative messages or twitter trolls was seen with Australian Celebrity, Charlotte Dawson. Twitter trolls are people that create fake accounts to anonymously taunt, threaten or urge their victims to take their own lives.
These tweets are just some examples of how Charlotte was targeted and after receiving a barrage of these hurtful messages, Charlotte responded with the below harrowing tweet along with a picture of a hand holding pills at 2:07am.
Not long after, she was then rushed to hospital with major concerns for her emotional wellbeing.
Charlotte Dawson’s traumatic experience was one of the first of this spate of Twitter abuse that is directed at relatively high-profile celebrities, sports stars and politicians. It has led a large number of influential bodies to call for a crackdown on Twitter trolls and calls for them to be outed.
If you think there needs to be a specific legislation against Twitter trolls then help by signing the petition to stop the trolls: http://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/twitter-make-internet-trolls-and-bullies-accountable-for-their-tweets-2.
*image via http://semiologie-television.com/?p=1335
At InsideOut PR we are always keeping an eye out for hurtful comments that could damage a brand. If you have any concerns about how Twitter trolls could affect your brand, we can offer support and advice to minimise any repercussions. Twitter is an outlet that shows the true power that words can have and although this power can be used in a negative way – there is also opportunity to use Twitter to impart positive messages to your followers. So be kind and keep tweeting!