Be Careful What You Tweet – The Twitter GAP Method

There is amazing power in the 140 character micro-blog posts that we have come to know as tweets. These tweets have demonstrated the power to get people hired, fired, book deals, 5-min. of fame, caught cheating, NFL players fined, job offers cancelled with a “Thanks but No Thanks!” and countless other negative and positive outcomes. More often than not, these negative outcomes were outside the purview of the Twitter user’s original intent.

IMHO there should be some thought that goes into each and every tweet, because once you hit post, those tweets find themselves in the Twitterworld forever. The delete option for your tweets is almost as comical as the rescinding of an e-mail — it doesn’t work.  Everyone knows as soon as you get the email stating that “so and so would like to rescind it” you click the open/read button ASAP. The moral of the story… Be Careful What You Tweet.

Anyone can do anything with your tweets and even without your permission. I see tweets all the time that fall into the category of what I call questionable. I imagine that most of these people wouldn’t want their mother, pastor, boss or children reading some of their tweets.

A great solution is for everyone to have a personal internal tweet filter, that aligns with who they are. Personally, my filter is simply asking this question: “Is what I’m about to tweet disrespectful to God, My Family or My Role as a Pastor and Leader?”

Over the years I have found my tweets on digital billboards, on front page stories of newspapers, in the sports section of newspapers, in magazine articles, featured in blogposts, in books and the list goes on and on. The crazy thing is some of the tweets that were featured had been sent up to a year before the book was released, a month before the article was featured and some were featured online the same day.

The universal tweet filter method that I recommend to my clients and anyone using twitter is what I have deemed as the GAP Method™. The GAP Method doesn’t mean put on GAP clothing before you tweet, but rather ask this question: “Is my tweet Genuine, Accurate and Positive?

  • Genuine – Possessing the claimed or attributed character, quality or origin; not counterfeit; authentic; real. Does this tweet or RT cut the mustard as being genuine?
  • Accurate – Free from error or defect; consistent with a standard, rule or model, precise; exact. (This gets people in trouble, fined, fired and everything else. Just last week people were tweeting that Michael Jordan was in the hospital due to a heart attack. As much as I would have liked to share some breaking news, I checked the story’s accuracy and couldn’t legitimize it… so I didn’t share it. It was a fake.) Does this tweet or RT cut the mustard as being accurate?
  • Positive – Characterized by or expressing certainty or affirmation: a positive answer or benefit; tending to emphasize what is good or laudable; constructive; tending towards progress. (This doesn’t mean that you can’t be contrary, opinionated, stern, direct and a matter of fact; it simply means you are leaning towards a good positive result. This one is more of the “Golden Rule” of the three.) Does this tweet or RT cut the mustard as being positive?

The bottom line is Be Careful What Tweet, it may end up on the front page of a newspaper, fired, under investigation or worse. It could lead to death, here is a story of how a persons Twitter Message Led to Murder.

Be Careful What You Tweet!

P.S. The Library of Congress archives all of your tweets.

Do you think about the repercussions of what you say online?  Should your tweets be fair game?  Do you use any sort of mental filter before you tweet?

  • Barry

    I read my tweets to my daughters and my wife before sending them. I often ask, “Can I send this?” Or ” Does this make sense?” They have saved me from embarrassing double entandras.

  • This is so awesome but it also needs to address the Facebook nation as well.

  • Joy

    Great thoughts on social media.
    I am so grateful that when I was in my prime of stupidity Twitter and Facebook were not around. Don’t even get me started on camera phones!
    Thanks for the insight. As always, it’s incredible helpful and applicable.

  • Genuine, Accurate, and Positive (GAP) – what a great way to keep our reputation and integrity solid. And good to note that it’s important to think before we post. Very useful, Scott!

  • Sound advice!

  • This is great. I’m not entirely sure what the word “genuine” adds, but perhaps you mean don’t send spam. Some people do need to advertise products, but we should try to do it in a way that is not too repetitive, and which adds value to the reader. Am I getting this right?

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