One keystroke can result in an uncomfortable typo, or a twitchy finger can post something too early…or worse, something you didn’t want to post at all. Here are some suggestions for what to do in common situations when something goes wrong:
General typos or incorrect facts
As you can see from the title, I get a bit of glee from the typos I’ve seen or executed over the years (Full disclosure: I am responsible for podcats and downloafing). While you may be inclined to quietly slip in a correction, with any kind of live document that social media provides (blogs, tweets, etc), it’s proper form to make the correction and note it either parenthetically or at the bottom of the piece if the correction is something like an error of fact or a misspelling of a person’s name.
Even socially savvy people get hacked. There are great tools out there like 1Password, but if you’re not ready to part with money for the extra security, there’s a chance someone will get into your Twitter account and spam your followers, or possibly even attempt to spread malware with shady links. Here’s what to do in that situation:
- Change your password. Make it a little tougher to guess than the last one.
- Remove/trash/unsend anything the hacker sent if you have the option.
- Send a public message to your followers (or email the same people who were emailed the first time, or DM the same people…etc.) letting them know you’ve been hacked, apologize in very simple language, and ask users not to open links if the offending Tweet (or whatever) may still be cached somewhere.
In short: don’t panic, but deal with it quickly and do apologize for inconveniencing people. You may not have been lazy when you came up with your password, so it isn’t really your fault, but as a matter of etiquette, it’s nice to let your friends and followers know you may have inconvenienced their day.
Conversations or photos and video that weren’t meant to be public
First: Conversations. The easiest place to make this mistake is Twitter, where the D@_____ command never seems to work. I’d recommend never sending a direct message outside of the “direct message” window and never using the “D@” prompt.
But in general, be honest and humble. If you really did say it, own up. If you were a snarky jerk, owning up to being a snarky jerk at the start is always better than claiming something was taken out of context or altered. Because like it or not, The conversation is now public. You don’t have to draw massive attention to it, but if asked about it, admit it’s you, apologize if needed, and move on…
…and NEVER discuss anything that needs to stay personal online. Don’t share passwords and logons through email and texts. There’s a reason your bank won’t put your account number in the email.
These tips barely scratch the surface, but I’d love to have some more discussion in the comment section. Any other great typos out there? Security tips I missed?