I remember a time when a tweet was the noise a bird made – not anymore. People of all ages and from all backgrounds and sectors are taking to the social networking tool, using it to communicate with a global audience.
Most people have got their head around the hashtag and now recognise the importance of using twitter as a business generation tool, as well as a platform from which to simply engage and share content.
As tends to be the case, there are always a minority who try to spoil things and in this instance these people are known as ‘trolls’. They aren’t green and they don’t live under bridges but in my own opinion they probably should!
These people go out of their way to provoke reactions from others using twitter by being rude and offensive. The good news is that this may become a thing of the past – or at least be reduced – if new laws are to come into force which will directly apply to tweets.
The BBC has created a great news article today which focuses on the laws in relation to twitter and how they will change. It also uses some really good ‘real life’ cases to put the legal implications into context.
It goes without saying that there will be some who criticise these new legal practices but personally I think something has to change. There is a definite argument for free speech but what needs to be determined is when that becomes defamation of character or brand and takes an option to the masses, which is then reproduced (retweeted) and misconstrued as fact.
My advice to anyone reading this blog is to remember that when you use twitter it isn’t like talking with your mates down at the pub – you are publishing material to be shared. Twitter is a social messaging tool which promotes the opportunity to share and be shared – it is not a personal diary.
However accessible the internet is, sharing content needs to be taken seriously and until people recognise the implications my advice would be to carefully consider what you make public. It wouldn’t be the first time someone found their ‘joke’, light hearted comment or retweet landed them in a whole host of hot water and in some instances behind bars!
Perhaps we should take some advice from a cartoon friend of mine: “If you can’t say nothing nice, then don’t say nothing at all.”