Twitter is a wonderful tool – an easy way to reach existing, and new, audiences and to grow a public profile. But you don’t have to search too many hashtags for startling examples of Twitter-gone-bad especially so among high profile individuals with (monstrous) egos and a head stuffed to the frontal lobes with righteous indignation. So what reputation lessons can we learn from our Twitter-happy celeb friends, who are usually the ones at the epicentre of a good online social media ruck?
Katie Hopkins loves upsetting people on Twitter. It’s pretty much her only job apart from nestling her cold steel buttocks on the sofas of day time TV with the sole purpose of making every unemployed person or stay at home parent froth at the mouth thanks to spurious claims that everyone called Jayden smells of fish and that fat people should be melted down and made into soap for the Queen. Hopkins is a classic example of someone who has an impressive ability to upset a wide demographic of people in less than 140 characters. (Recent examples include: “Ginger babies. Like a baby. Just so much harder to love.” And “How many more must die before the McCanns accept their negligence is at the heart of all their grief?”) Some of her recent high-profile targets include Ed Miliband, austerity cookery guru Jack Monroe and singer Charlotte Church. Though when not attacking fellow celebs, she’s not adverse to calling children offensive names which really shows her up for the professional troll she is. But while she’s lazily being goady from the comfort of her sofa and currently raking in the cash from resulting media appearances, at some stage, she’ll probably take it too far, and go from token annoying bigot to a blacklisted joke.
The lesson? Too much trolling and you just become a panto villain.
There have been many footballers (and sportspeople in general) who have used Twitter to vent spleen. Perhaps the most recent spat comes courtesy of former City stars Rodney Marsh and Joey Barton, one a footballer whose glory days were probably the 1970s and the other (Barton) who made his debut in 2003. The nasty row showcased some pretty ageist attitudes in both directions, from Barton using the term “skint, washed-up former player full of hatred” about Marsh, to the other pointing out “At your age I was captaining MCFC against Barcelona & playing for England. You?” The spat arose from both making comments about Barton’s agent apparently approaching another club without his permission but the added bile was all their own.
The lesson? Don’t argue on social media – you will always come across as the very worst version of yourself.
O’Connor thought Miley grinding her youthful bottom into a creepy man’s crotch on live TV was a sign she was being taken advantage of by the nasty music industry. Like any responsible adult who has shaved their head on TV while setting fire to the Pope, O’Connor decided to write a not-at-all-publicity-seeking open letter to Cyrus saying that record execs will “prostitute you for all you’re worth and cleverly make you think it’s what YOU wanted.” Cyrus’ response on twitter was “I don’t have time to write you an open letter cause I’m hosting & performing on SNL this week.” Ouch, Miley, that’s harsh.
The lesson? People don’t always react as you’d like them to on social media so be sure your best intentions will be received that way.
Poor Lord Sugar. Despite being at the forefront of tech and one of the country’s leading businessmen Alan had absolutely no idea who Tulisa was when the ex N-Dubz singer appeared on the X Factor judging panel. Lord Sugar, still thinking he was sitting behind a big desk with Nick and Karen, urged Simon Cowell to sack her via a tweet: “Can you tell me who the hell this Tulisa bird is – what has she done?” Tulisa, when finished sobbing uncontrollably over the latest out of tune deli counter assistant from Halifax who’s just been sent packing after a lacklustre rendition of I Will Always Love You, wiped away her tears and delivered a final blow to Lord Sugar:“U look like an ugly hobbit. Stop tweeting me & go & find some happiness! It’s embarrassing u miserable old man.” The lesson? If you’re going to randomly dish it out on Twitter then be prepared to get some back.