Twitter Ground Rule #2: Don’t Be Grumpy

Irony and the occasional grumpiness is okay when you’re among friends and good colleagues – IRL. We can all have a bad day or leave a remark that could be taken wrongly. But when you’re online, the effect multipliesUnless it’s a thought-out part of your strategy, forget about irony and forget about writing tweets when you’re in a bad mood – you’ll most likely end up regretting it later.

Bank fight
The Standard Bank in South Africa made the mistake of criticising their competition publicly when they accused the First National Bank of misleading advertising. Unfortunately, they forgot that when you point one finger at someone else, three are pointing back at yourself. Tweeters were glad to remind them.

Trying to make yourself look bigger by lashing out for someone else never works – it just makes you look unsympathetic. In this case, the Standard Bank hoped to hijack some customers – chances are that they lost some instead. If anything, they learned that customers don’t like haters, and they don’t open accounts in banks that are being tattle-tails.

Be kind and smart
Most of us who’ve seen ‘The Help’, starring Viola Davis, remember this line from a scene in the movie:

While live-tweeting the premiere of “How to Get Away With Murder” on Thursday night, People magazine then tweeted this:

People magazine


While the tweet was neither angry nor grumpy, it certainly offended some people:


It takes a thousand tweets to build a reputation, and one tweet to change it all. The moment it’s published, you might as well have carved it in stone. Remember that the Internet loves it when companies screw up, and when they do, it remembers. Your inappropriate tweet will be saved and shared, and it will live on, even after you’ve deleted it.

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