Seagulls can’t eat chips if you don’t take the chip out of the bag!

This post is prompted by a discussion last night on Channel 10?s Before the Game and the conversation around a footballer’s recent tweet.

My friend Trevor Young (@trevoryoung) and I were having a natter on Twitter about what had happened and that the media, days later, were still talking about it.

The issue and content of the tweet is irrelevant – it’s the lesson that can be learned.

Trevor rightly said

The ultimate irony of course is the media loves this controversy – gives ‘em something to talk about :)

I then replied

vicious circle! Still, sea gulls can’t eat chips if you don’t take the chip out of the bag!

My point – and without inferring Trevor’s view – is that issues management online is no different from the base premise as it is offline: If you don’t say or do something that can be misconstrued, taken out of context, or generally reflected upon, then you won’t get into trouble – whatever that trouble may be, or whatever your intent, presumed context or circumstance is.

Many years ago, while being interviewed for a role as a staffer in federal Parliament, I was politely told (in language that I won’t repeat given it was somewhat direct..!) that my actions as a staffer reflected on the minister. If I did anything to reflect poorly on the minister, then there would be consequences.

He was right. It’s not rocket science. You don’t do dumb things, and even if they’re not dumb, then you have to be prepared to be judged as soon as you do something that may become public. Others determine your reputation. You can only control yourself.

Yes, we are all our own personal brands; we can now engage online; and yes, Twitter makes the world a wonderful water cooler – but what Twitter lacks is the irony alert, or the context button.

One person’s irony is another person’s barbed insinuation.

The context of a tweet is that context in which it is read – not necessarily the way in which it was written.

With Twitter – ‘the microphone is always on’.

Sea gulls can’t eat chips if you don’t take the the chip out of the bag.