Yesterday wasn’t my greatest or proudest day on social media. I managed to make three mistakes within hours of each other on three different networks. This wasn’t a case of me multi-sharing the same message across networks either. It was me making three different mistakes.
I’ll share each of them with you and explain the individual situations. I am not making excuses for my mistakes. Rather, I hope that someone (especially me!) will learn something from my experiences. I have no problem owning up to my mistakes. So here goes.
Mistake #1: Rachael Ray cooks up her family, dog
No, I don’t actually believe that happened. However, yesterday there was a cover image from Tails Magazine floating around Facebook (and probably other networks too but that’s where I first saw it). The cover features a smiling Rachael Ray holding her dog. The caption reads “Rachael Ray finds inspiration in cooking her family and her dog.”
Obviously a few correctly placed commas would have solved the problem. That’s pretty much what my Facebook status said (at left) when I shared the image.
To be fair, I’ve seen plenty of real newspaper headlines and magazine cover text that featured grotesque mistakes that begged the question: “Did anyone actually look at this before it was printed??” In my haste and distaste, that’s what I took this to be.
After I re-posted it, I thought again and did some quick research, which I should’ve done before I posted it.
It turns out that this October 2010 cover was altered by Photoshop and surfaced at least one other time last March. However, it wasn’t until the Poynter Institute’s regular contributor Lisa Shepard decided to post this image on her Facebook wall that it went viral.
Tails founder Janice Brown was quick to set the record straight (again) but it’s too bad she ended up defending her publication’s editing and copy editing skills. I was one of the perpetrators in this and for that I apologize.
Lesson: Do the research before you re-post mistakes; no matter how funny they may be. Don’t always believe what you read or see. (Duh.)
Note: I did leave the image up on my Facebook wall because others had shared it and commented on it. However, I commented that it was a ruse and linked to an article explaining how it happened.
Mistake #2: Longtime TP sports columnist Pete Finney is victim of layoffs, or is he?
At the time of this writing, I still don’t know the fate of Pete Finney, a sports columnist at the Times-Picayune which yesterday announced it was laying off half of its newsroom staff. Finney has been with the TP for more than six decades. That’s a long, long time.
Now, I will admit that I was emotional about the layoffs happening within the Newhouse organization, which owns the TP. Yes, I’m a former journalist but I also used to work there. The names of the newsroom staffers are familiar to me and I consider some of them former colleagues and friends to this day.
As I sat eating my lunch yesterday, I probably tweeted a dozen or so times about the Times-Picayune and what was happening. As I was doing so, I saw a few tweets like these:
Now you might be thinking: “Hey Shelby, you are a former journalist. You should check your facts!” But it was this last tweet that got my attention because NOLA.com is in fact the Times-Picayune’s online presence. While they have since updated their story, the organization itself was reporting that Finney was among those being let go.
So when I saw the perfect tweet come through about Finney, I retweeted it. I thought it was powerful.
Of course, an hour later NOLA.com updated their story and suddenly tweets like these started coming through:
I decided to re-tweet one of these posts to at least acknowledge the mistake – if there was one. My tweet is below but I just did another search for Pete Finney and there are still stories out there saying he is being laid off. I think I’m just going to leave it alone.
Lesson: On big news days, there are always going to be mistakes posted on social media as the truth is struggling to come out. Also, if you’re emotional about a particular subject, maybe it’s best to leave it alone from the very beginning.
Mistake #3: I rant on Path
Related to the newspaper layoffs – and still quite emotional about the subject, I turned to Path for a little rant. Maybe this is less of a mistake and more of a regret (although I do regret all three of these incidents).
The reason I regret the rant at left is because this is not how Path was intended to be used. Path is set up as moments and those moments can be a shared thought, music, location or photo. It’s supposed to be short and sweet. I clearly went too far. My rant doesn’t even fit on one mobile screen!
It’s possible that because I have a smaller and closer network on Path than I do other networks that I felt a little more comfortable showing my true feelings about this subject. I have noticed that others I follow on Path sometimes use this network to share more insights and feelings. However, I feel like I abused my Path yesterday and, while I could delete it, I’m keeping it as a reminder to not do it again. (Also, because no one commented on it, I took it as a clue that it was the wrong thing to do.)
Lesson: I don’t rant on my blogs so why would I do so on my social media networks? This was a journal entry that didn’t need to be posted.
So these are my social media regrets. I managed to make mistakes on Facebook, Twitter and Path in a matter of hours. That takes talent. I can’t wait to read Jim’s response to this. He’s going to have fun with it, I’m sure. While we wait for him, do you have any social media regrets?