Social Media

Could you weather a Twitterstorm like Rupert Murdoch?

Rupert Murdoch has been called out on his support for ‘real black’ presidential hopeful Ben Carson, but swiftly apologised, declaring “No offence meant.”

The BBC has reported the gaffe, confirming:

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has apologised for a tweet suggesting President Barack Obama is not a “real black president”. In tweets praising Republican candidate Ben Carson, Mr Murdoch wrote: “What about a real black President who can properly address the racial divide?” After criticism on Twitter, he later tweeted: “Apologies! No offence meant. Personally find both men charming.”

This is a good example of how quickly posts on social media can be open to misinterpretation or reinterpretation. Murdoch followed the golden rules, however, apologising quickly and unreservedly and escaped largely unscathed.

It is impossible to control the message that employees (or, in this case, business owners) put out on social media every second of the day, much like it is impossible to control their public or private conversations.

Steps can be taken to prevent such slips, however. A sensible, practical policy and guidance can establish the parameters of what is considered and will be tolerated. Fair and reasonable monitoring and enforcement should back it up.

It is inevitable that everyone makes mistakes, but recognising the reality of human error is essential to maintaining a productive, engaged and positive workforce.

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