Pretty Simple: web, digital, social

I’ve just updated my list of social media lessons learned the hard way with details of a Labour candidate who appears to have committed political suicide on Twitter.

As the Guardian reports, Labour sacked Stuart MacLennan after details of a number of offensive tweets were published on a blog on the Evening Standard website.

According to the article, his tweets included jokes about slavery, references to old people as ‘coffin-dodgers’, to a woman as a ‘boot’, and were frequently peppered with strong language.

One of the politically incorrect tweets

One of the politically incorrect tweets (Image from Evening Standard)

You would surely assume that such an individual would have known better, and indeed, as the Scottish Sun points out, is appears that he did:

Ironically, ranting MacLennan – a policy researcher for Labour at Holyrood – also hinted his own political hopes could be ruined by using the internet to discuss politics.

He wrote: “Iain Dale (Tory blogger) reckons the biggest gaffes will likely be made by candidates on Twitter – what are the odds it’ll be me?”

Andrew Nicoll writing in the Scottish Sun

Given his apparent awareness of the risks, it is hard to understand why this happened. Did he think they were appropriate? Did he assume no-one would see them? Did he maybe attempt to delete them after he was selected to stand? We are told that many of the tweets were published some time ago, so had he simply forgotten about them?

Whatever the case, it’s a very hard lesson for him, and a salient reminder for the rest of us that what you do with social media today can easily come back and haunt you in the future.

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One Response to Hard lessons in social media: political suicide

  1. Gary Miller says:

    Social media never forgets – there’s always someone happy to dredge up old items. Especially at election time!

    You can run, but you just can’t hide!

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