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An expensive 21 characters

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Tuesday September 7, 2010 )

Watch those tweets. A measly 21 characters of text has cost an Australian swimmer a lucrative sponsorship.

According to a report on ABC, Olympic gold medalist Stephanie Rice’s tweet of just four words saw Jaguar pull their support, even after an apology from the swimmer who said she made the comment while in an excited state.

It wasn’t the most savory of comments, but nothing that most of us wouldn’t have uttered the equivalent of at some time in our lives and not necessarily meant to demean any particular group.

However, the backlash was severe.

I don’t know much about Ms. Rice, but assuming she’s an overall decent person, I think Jaguar was a little rough – Stephanie’s just 22 and she’s made a mistake; one that she sought to fix.

Stephanie is by no means the first to lose a job or sponsorship through a tweet and likely won’t be the last.

Anyhow, it just goes to show how sensitive folks can be and a tap on the shoulder for us all. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. Even if you accidentally post something and it’s only public for a few seconds, all it takes is someone with a lightning fast “print screen” finger and you’re toast.

It doesn’t have to be a tweet or a facebook comment. The accidental cc of an email to someone you didn’t intend to send the message to can bring about your undoing. I’ve been there, done that on occasion, so far I’ve been lucky that there was nothing in the email particularly nasty; however it’s an awful feeling when you realize what’s happened. I even dream about it.

To think that such a faux pas could ruin or severely affect years of hard work is pretty darned scary.


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