Why Weiner’s wiener tweet shouldn’t keep people off Twitter

I received a concerned call from a client I’ve been coaching in using social media — specifically Twitter. “Should I really be using this,” she asked. “What if something I tweet gets me in trouble?”

Of course, that questioned stemmed from the bizarre Rep. Anthony Weiner bulging underwear Twitter pic scandal that has captivated people on- and off-line. Further adding to the drama is reports that a Twitter group was monitoring Weiner’s tweets looking to embarrass him.

My client isn’t a politician, or a high-profile person. However, like many people, she’s using Twitter to further her career. Also, she is a person who tends to say edgy, off-colored things. They are usually funny, but probably not to everyone. Her question really was, what if using Twitter hurts her career because it’s a record of what she say?

I assured her that this high profile incident shouldn’t deter her from using the powerful communication tool that Twitter is. Instead she should let this story be a reminder to be just as responsible about what she says, and does online as she is in person.

That conversation got me thinking about how some people use such atypical social media horror stories as reasons why they’ll never get on Twitter, or Facebook. They say, see, it’ll ruin your career, your life!

For those of you who see the incredible positive potential that Twitter, and other social media tools offer, but are concerned you’ll get yourself in trouble, here are three things to consider when tweeting.

First, what kind of work do you do? Some professions lend themselves to being edge, or provocative on Twitter. Others, like holding public office, do not. My client works in Hollywood. Being edgy is probably a plus in her situation.

Second, would you be willing to say the same thing in person, or proudly defend your words to your mother? Mom: I’m shocked you said that! You: Mom, I had a good reason, and it was….

Third: If someone called you out on your words, picture, etc., what would be the worst thing that could happen? If your job considers your personal actions an extension of its public image, you need to be careful. That said, for most people nothing happens.

One extra piece of advice: if you’re a lusty, lying, cheat, with no self control in real life, you probably should steer clear of Twitter.