So another celebrity, this time Ashton Kutcher, has proven to us all what we already know - that we are no different from each other when it comes to making mistakes. Last week on seeing the headline about Penn State firing their football coach he immediately put his stream of consciousness on Twitter and told his 8 million followers what he thought.
This was his original tweet;
Within minutes the backlash started, nasty responses started to fly and within hours he had removed the tweet, apologized and then decided to suspend tweeting whilst he no doubt consulted with his PR advisors.
As of immediately I will stop tweeting until I find a way to properly manage this feed. I feel awful about this error. Won't happen again.
Just a few hours later he announced his Twitter account was going to be handled by his PR agency.
Twitter Management http://post.ly/3rk2N
So what are the lessons you can learn from Kutchner's mistake;
- Engage brain before tweeeting. Actually this goes for all posts, status updates and anything else you are thinking of posting online. Consider the wider impact. A personal opinion shared with a couple of friends becomes a whole different ball game when you send it out to the universe. What you say online is a reflection of your personal brand, once it's out there it's hard to take back. Removing a twitter post does not make it go away.
- Stop digging. If you have dug yourself in to a hole, do not try to justify what you have done, the hole only gets deeper. Kutcher claimed to have just responded to a headline, being more or betyter informed might have been a better approach. Take a deep breath, throw the shovel to one side and consider how you are going to start to fill the hole in.
- Apologize. We all make mistakes, we would never advance as a race if we didn't. But if you make a mistake or say something you regret, say you are sorry - as long as you mean it.
- Take a moment to reflect on your mistake. What can you learn from the experience? Share with others what you have learned so that they are less likely to make the same mistake. What will you be careful not to repeat? Be sure to understand the lead up to the mistake, what else was going on to distract you and make you do that knee jerk thing and try to minimise it's impact next time.
- Don't STOP tweeting. Social media to some extent has given some people an over blown view of their opinions, but for authenticity your personal brand reflections should be yours not some paid PR person or assistant - make it real, unless you are a company.
Mistakes happen and he is handling the fallout as best he can, his 8 million followers will not know if his next tweet is him or a handler - BUT the world will not stop turning because Ashton Kutcher has changed his approach to Twitter, and we have many greater concerns to expend our energy on.