Yes, Twitter rant can hurt and it can hurt you badly. This is probably the latest lesson-learnt for me, and I must say that it will take some time for the feeling to sink-in.
Twitter’s promoters would not have probably ever thought of the possibility of tweets becoming a source of malaise and penalty for the users of the site. The growing clout of Twitter as a Social site seems to have made it a favourite place to throw rants. These could be personal rants or professional rants, but the ramifications of such rants seem to have started hurting the user financially.
We all know that celebrity soccer players in the English League have had more than one rant being publicised through the Twitter medium. The viral reach of the site ensures that such rants spread faster than the Australian Jungle fires. And, now the latest issue of the Twitter rant not going well with the Governing Body of the Formula racing is from the Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. His ‘Circus Clown’ rant has eventually costed him $30,000. This is obviously one of the high-profile case, and the implications of the rant are pretty well known across the Globe. Given the fact that Helio is well-followed on Twitter, the disciplinary action taken against him makes me wonder if Twitter can actually be considered a ‘free medium’ at all.
We all expected Twitter to be a free and an impartial platform for sharing and connecting with the friends. And, given the informal nature of the medium, it appears that disciplinary action on anyone on the basis of a tweet would certainly have an impact on the ‘freedom element’ that was inherently a key characteristic of the Twitter site. Infact, It used to have that ‘freedom element’ intact, but things seem to be changing now.
Come to think of an employee who tweets on an employer and his tweet becoming the grounds for disciplinary action against him at his work-place. The possibilities of penalties and actions arising out of Twitter rants seem to have existed for quite some time now, and it would be only now that such instances are coming out in the open.
What does this entail for you and me? Specifically, it appears that companies and Sports Governing Councils want to enforce a certain level of engagement on Social sites. The tone and vigour of such engagement needs to be professional, and respectful without an intent to cause any offence to any person working within an organization or the Sports body.
In other words, if you are using Twitter as a medium for Social connections, you need to mind the words you speak. Those 140 characters have a solid potential to go viral and cause a heartbreak somewhere. Think before you tweet, and although not many will agree to the enforced discipline, but if you are working within a professional organization you may do well to adhere to the dictum of polite and professional communication.