Would you be happy to put these 140 characters in print for the world to see and for the lawyers of the world to decide if they can take action against it?This has to be the golden rule every time you decide to engage social media. Not when you want to say something outspoken or controversial, just absolutely any time you press that send button.As any editor will tell you, it can be the most innocuous item that in the end can cost more than what many newspapers laughingly refer to as a year’s profit these days.Thats why I’ve been astounded by the Twitter reaction to the search of the home of Cliff Richard this week.The fact a high-profile celebrity has been linked with a police search is clearly something that will smoke out all manner of ill-advised comments and twisted ‘jokes’ from members of the public on social media who frankly should know better.What has left me bemused is the fact that a number of journalists whom I follow on this medium have also fallen for the same thing and clearly tweeted statements that if they were to appear on the front pages of their newspaper (or their websites of course) they would be worth a month long holiday in the Maldives for the previously mentioned lawyers.In an era when newspaper execs are expecting things to be ‘right first time’, it’s clear that when it comes to using social media some journalists see a great distinction between what is personal and what is done in the name of a news organisation. Not so.If as a trusted journalist you feel it is acceptable to disregard Essential Law and the Code just because you happen to be saying something ‘out of hours,’ then the door is open to disaster.Taking a look at #cliffrichard should be a lesson in what not to say on social media.There’s a tough lesson ahead for individuals and newspaper groups alike if some of the offenders on this hashtag are journalists.
You will find here news and views of SpitfirePR - we hope that you enjoy reading about what we have been up to. And of course it would be great if you could share your comments with us