Libel is a definite “thing” on Twitter lately. It’s been established – read up.
But you’re a wiseass, so what can you possibly do to avoid landing in hot water? One prosecutor has some sage advice: “Quickly delete it!” But as that is quite possibly the lamest advice ever, we have some additional steps you could consider after you inevitably offend.
According to The Independent, the director of public prosecutions in the UK, Keir Starmer, has said “swiftly deleting abusive tweets may save offenders from being brought before court.”
Starmer, who is the country’s leading prosecutor, said it was “relevant” for police to consider whether an offending tweet had been deleted or not.
So okay – delete away, jailbird. And hope for leniency. But you might want to try some of these tips on for size as well before putting all your tweets in one basket:
Apologize. This doesn’t happen enough online. When you’re wrong, say you’re wrong and leave it at that without qualifying or justifying. This means you don’t get the last word. Deal with it.
Make a joke – about yourself. If you’re a jerk online, you really need to rechannel that anger – and until you do, you need to learn to laugh at how over-the-top ridiculous you are. This not only shows that you know you were wrong, it acknowledges your Jekyl/Hyde struggle – and who wouldn’t cut you a little slack? And if they don’t, say a little prayer for leniency, try to learn from your mistake and move on.
Seek sympathy. This one is dangerous as it can backfire and result in your face gracing the next meme sensation, but if you did something foul and it’s an out of character reaction because you just put your 16 year old dog down, say so. Don’t play the poor me card if it isn’t true though – people LOVE sniffing out a liar and making their lives hell online.
Most important of all: Don’t dwell or debate. Repeat that and remember it. Let stuff go (who cares about your Twitter battle when you walk down the street, really?) and it dies down eventually. But if you keep harping on the same thing and come at it from different angles, you’re fanning the flames and pretty much deserve what you get.
How do YOU handle offensive tweets? Or are you perfect and never send any?
(Horrified image from Shutterstock)