The Power of Social Media: Campaign Manager Resigns After Posting Fake Tweets

When we read about this story on JimRomenesko, we couldn’t believe our eyes. And then once we started to digest the information, it brought up a variety of employment-related questions.

First, as for the scoop: Amidst Hurricane Sandy, @comfortablysmug was infiltrating the Twitterverse with frightening and false information about conditions in NYC. Not underestimating the power of social media, it spread very quickly onto news broadcasts before officials could even refute it to set the record straight.

What would motivate someone to do that? Perhaps there was a distorted type of rush by being anonymous? Well, Buzzfeed revealed his true identity: His name is Shashank Tripathi and he’s a hedge fund analyst and the campaign manager of Christopher R. Wight, this year’s Republican candidate for the U.S. House from New York’s 12th Congressional District.

Well, just like that in a New York minute, he issued an apology on Twitter and has resigned from his post as Wight’s campaign manager. Although Tripathi has a link to Stone Street Advisors on his Twitter page, the founder of the hedge fund consulting firm told Buzzfeed that @comfortablysmug doesn’t write for them any more.

Second, now that we know the basis of the story, it’s another lesson in watching the power of social media. Ethics of course, only Tweet the facts as you know them but the larger issue is the impact it could have on people especially in crisis mode.

Whether or not he thought about the ramifications of posting erroneous information is beyond us, but some are now wondering if he should be prosecuted. And how you link yourself on your Twitter page as well. Many media folks include a line such as “opinions are my own” while some don’t even reference which news outlet they’re associated with. But, as you associate your employer with your page and in Trapathi’s case, there is definitely such a thing as negative publicity when it comes to association with a company you inadvertently put in a bad light by mere association.

And behind the scenes it’s unclear if he was asked to resign but in what he perhaps thought was a prank or whatever he was thinking, point of the matter is, this time yesterday he had the gig of campaign manager and as for today? Not so much.