Seven Steps for Successful Tweeting.

Seven Steps for Successful Tweeting.

Ryan Dunn's Facebook post

Jackass star Ryan Dunn was killed when he crashed his Porsche 911 GT3 early Monday morning. A few hours before the 3 a.m. accident, Dunn had posted a photo on Twitter in which he is seen drinking with friends. Hours later, movie critic Roger Ebert tweeted: “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” By Tuesday, Ebert apologized on his blog, “I was probably too quick to tweet. That was unseemly.”

Dunn's car after the accident

Unseemly?? Now that’s an understatement.

In the meantime, the tweet prompted an outpouring of criticism against Ebert on Facebook and Twitter, so much of it profane that Facebook removed Ebert’s page.

Ebert might have felt marginally contrite about his insensitive tweet, but certainly not about Facebook cutting his ties with his followers. “Facebook! My page is harmless and an asset to you,” he wrote. “Why did you remove it in response to anonymous jerks? Makes you look bad.”

Roger Ebert

Facebook promptly returned Ebert’s page with a quick statement: “The page was removed in error. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Heidi Montag, The Hills starlet obsessed with plastic surgery, lost her favorite surgeon, Frank Ryan, in a fatal car accident.

“He lived up in Malibu on a tiny street and he was texting while driving and he accidentally went over the cliff,” the surgeon’s ex-girlfriend told People Magazine. More specifically, he was tweeting. Below a picture of his dog, he wrote, “Border collie jill (sic) surveying the view from atop the sand dune.”

And don’t even get me started about Anthony Weiner, the married US congressman who lost his seat because he was caught sexting with a Las Vegas blackjack dealer and then lied about it. Without even commenting on the banality of his texts, didn’t he know that the Internet is forever? (Obviously not, the question was rhetorical.)

Has the world gone insane? People are dying to tweet and tweeting about people dying. Politicians are posting public messages that they wouldn’t dare to whisper out loud. And then a whole online keiretsu of statements are released about the tweets and the comments.

Look, we all know texting and driving is a really bad idea. Recent studies show that it’s even more dangerous than drinking and driving. But that study wouldn’t have helped Ebert, Ryan or Weiner. They weren’t DWI (driving while intoxicated); they were TWS (texting while stupid). And as comedian Ron White says, “You can’t fix stupid.”

Common sense tells us that when you’re in a hole and you want to get out, the first thing to do is stop digging. But the better thing is not to fall in the hole in the first place.

Maybe it’s time for some marketing lines to come to the rescue. Want to know what to do when you’re on fire? “Stop, drop, and roll.” How about when you approach a busy intersection? “Stop, look, and listen.”

Those lines work. After all, how often do you read about flaming pedestrians being hit by speeding cars?

So why don’t we take a page from elementary school safety campaigns and  and adopt The Seven Steps for Successful tweeting? “Think. Write. STOP. Edit. Decide. STOP. Post.”

If people would just pause for a moment to think about what they’re posting, texting, and tweeting – or where and when they’re doing it – maybe they’d think twice before endangering themselves, their brands, and all the people around them.


By |2011-06-27T12:37:46+00:00June 27th, 2011|0 Comments

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  1. Chris Barr June 29, 2011 at 10:22 am - Reply

    Stupid is basically acceptable for starlets – but for Progressive members of Congress it’s impeachable IMHO.

    But, what I really wanted to say is I love the word keiretsu! Thanks for that.

  2. Mike Avola June 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    The first step is to “think.” What are these people thinking when they do this crap? The new obsession is “hey look at me, listen to what I am saying, I am something!” Why do we need others to validate our self worth?

  3. Rene Velez, CPA June 29, 2011 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Although I do love technology and perhaps more so, I love the human interaction that comes from dialogue. Maybe I saw to many late night Johnny Carson shows?

    Yet I have always seen Facebook as somewhat of an invasion of your private life, unless its a business. And, Tweeting ….I simply have not found the interest in it. This is not to say they don’t have a place. Personally, I lack the connection with these mediums. Strangley enough I do like Blogs, when they have good content.

    Facebook and Titter can have the effect of filtering out very unusual behavior and thoughts that one might not express in open public. Perhaps because those posting don’t get the feed back of the moment or the social ques that we depend on in a social setting. That can be dangerous, especially to those that are in the public light.

    Frankly…I see the day when Tweeting, Texting and Facebook will be mined for public opinion and market surveys much like a Gallop Poll. For the first time we will be able to measure public sentiment, social attitudes and cultural changes. Big Brother will one day talk back! We might be alarmed by what he says of us.

  4. Dana Fernety June 29, 2011 at 3:42 pm - Reply


    Nice reference to Steve Martin’s Theodoric of Yor. Twitter’s theme song should be Aretha Franklin’s “Think”!



  5. Henri June 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    Bruce, great blog, but, as you know, you can never ever misspell a person’s name; friend or foe. So, before you tweet, blog, text, friend, facebook, fax, or mail, make sure to spell it Weiner.

    Since his name is most likely of German heritage, Weiner is pronounced like “winer” whereas “Wiener” sounds more like “weener”. As it is, his actual name seems to refer more to “winer” than it does to Wiener, which would suggest his heritage is from Vienna, Austria. And yes, they make sausages there. But they would not refer to them as “weiners”.


    • Bruce Turkel June 30, 2011 at 3:56 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Henri (or is that Henry? ;-)) The nice thing about blogs is that you can correct mistakes and typos. Thanks for pointing it out AND for the fascinating review.

  6. Katie June 30, 2011 at 11:36 am - Reply

    I agree with you that people/businesses must be careful about not tweeting or facebooking the wrong thing. Other than facebooking a drunken picture of yourself etc. (which I agree should be common sense not to do) what kinds of things should businesses not tweet about and what sort of things are attractive to clients/potential clients to understand about you through your facebook/twitter? As a business owner (interior design firm), I understand the value of being approachable and accessible through facebook/twitter like a friend (after all a lot of business is done with people because you simply like that person). What I wish you would follow up with is what business SHOULD be tweeting about to attract business/keep clients. This is something I struggle with – the right content for the right clients.

    • Bruce Turkel July 4, 2011 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      Hi Katie:

      I can only tell you what’s worked for us. In fact, I wrote a blog post about it last December, titled The Greatest Blogger of the 16th Century. You can read the post here: and I think it’ll answer your question. If not, I highly recommend the book I talk about in the post. How To Live is Sarah Blackwell’s biography of Michele de Montaigne and it positively changed both the way I blog, tweet, etc. and my readers’ responses. Here’s the Amazon link to the book:

  7. John Calia July 2, 2011 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    Well, I am putting myself out there quite a lot lately so perhaps I should take the advice I am about to offer. Don’t Tweet at all. Everyone says something stupid from time to time. Sometimes with no apparent consequence (think of Obama’s campaign comment about “clinging to guns and religion”) and sometimes with longer term consequences (it may effect him in his reelection campaign). But, as you point out Bruce, the Internet is forever. So, why cast your misstakes in stone. People are more likely to remember an insult than a compliment. So, again — DON’T TWEET.

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