So here is a story from a social media class I was teaching earlier this week.

The class was looking at Twitter. To help them understand the Twitter user experience I was allowing the class to look at a real, and active account instead of a more sterile one used for training. In fact it happened to be my account. Since Twitter is public there really is nothing to hide.

We uncovered a tweet about Deutsche Börse’s in the wake of the EU referendum and my Twitter handle was included in the tweet.

Odd as I have nothing to do with stock exchanges. However I do have some famous namesakes such as the South African Minister for Trade and Industry. People on Twitter often assume that my name @robdavies belongs to him and not myself.

It looked like this may have happened again.

In fact it wasn’t just one website that had got this wrong. The Guardian had retweeted the original post. At this point a website (who I’ll allow to remain anonymous) had made a mistake – but a newspaper had compounded it.

I suddenly had a real world (and happening in front of us), example of why checking links and names before tweeting and retweeting is so important.

A respected British Newspaper had just failed to check something correct and was pointing people in the wrong direction. This allowed me to illustrate two points

  1. Getting facts wrong is really easy – especially when all you have to do is click retweet!
  2. It can happen to anyone. It doesn’t matter how skilled,  respected or well known you are that instinct to click can trap anyone.

So the message is – check before you post! You never know when a mistake will embarrass you.

The good news is that later on I did receive an apology from the original tweeter. It wasn’t necessary but was nice. The Guardian who were also made aware of the situation remain silent…

I wonder what will happen when I next run a Social Media course?