Key lessons from the year’s top social media blunders

The author looks at Advertising Age’s list of the worst online gaffes of 2011 and finds the lessons for PR and marketing professionals.

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For those of us in positions to be tweeting on behalf of brands or clients, or advising others on how best to use Twitter as part of the bigger communications picture, let’s try to avoid learning the hard way.

The list, the gist, and the lesson to be learned:

On the list: Weinergate

The gist: Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) tweeted photos of his privates and then claimed his account had been hacked. Upon investigation, his claim turned out to be false, and he resigned from office.

The lesson: If it’s digital media, it’s not private. Emails, photos, texts, videos—they’re all easy to post and even easier to share. Assume that if it leaves your device, it’s not private. If it does leak, you’d better be prepared to come clean. If you don’t share inappropriate things in the first place, you won’t feel like you have to lie and backtrack to cover up your poor judgment.

On the list:Dissing Detroit drivers

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