Anthony Weiner. Rick Perry. Rand Paul. These three men have a couple of things in common: they’re politicians, and social media got the best of them. Using social media responsibly and free of racism, sexism, or other career-crushing, campaign-ending offensives can be difficult for political figures, especially considering how transparent social media makes these (hopeful) officials to the public.
But, let’s face it, it doesn’t have to be THIS difficult (via Bloomberg):
@GovernorPerry sends a tweet out calling Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg the “most drunk Democrat in Texas.” Later, he claims the post was unauthorized. Sure, Rick.
“The day after the midterm elections, Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, posted photos of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Democratic Senate candidates who lost, compiled in a Facebook album.”
Chris Harris, a Texas school board member, posted this on his Facebook wall.
Following outrage from Facebook friends, constituents, and Internet users everywhere, Harris apologized on Facebook, claiming the post was ‘meant as a joke,’ with the defense that he ‘grew up in a black community.’ Harris later deactivated his Facebook account and resigned from the Hooks Independent School District.
This Michigan representative-elect wanted to inspire voters. (With a different kind of bird than Twitter uses.) No, @MikeBishopMI, no.
After the White House turkey-pardoning ceremony in 2014, Tennessee GOP Representative Stephen Fincher’s communications director, Elizabeth Lauten, wrote a post asking the first daughters to “dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at the bar.” Lauten later resigned following obvious backlash and criticism.
@GovernorMarkell’s dirty Twitpic happened in a Tweet announcing $5 million in funding for schools in Delaware. Also, “inadvertantly” is misspelled. So, that’s an all-around win for education, folks.
No, Iowa Republican Senator, @ChuckGrassley, we don’t know what you mean. He later explained, “I wanted to give Windsor Heights Dairy Queen some credit for making good Dairy Queen and doing you know what. And what do you do at Dairy Queen, you eat Dairy Queen.” Everyone was thinking something else.
Even good intentions can backlash, as @GovChristie found out.
Turns out, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was actually trying to commemorate the two-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. The Republican’s intended message: ‘We need to work together on things that have gone wrong and celebrate those that have gone right.’
Whether a victim of auto-correct, “unauthorized” tweets, poor judgment, or just human-error, social media can be the end of some politicians’ careers. All of these mistakes were deleted, and yet, here they all are for the public to see. Social media: It is difficult terrain; however, when used wisely, social media can be the difference between a victory and defeat.