We hear a lot these days from social media gurus about the benefits of Twitter accounts for financial advisors (see Gil Weinreich’s typically well-reported Aug. 12 story “Why Advisors Should Tweet About That Kayaking Trip” on ThinkAdvisor). I realize that I’m the old fogey in the crowd, but it seems strange to me that aside from the occasional piece on regulatory crackdowns, we rarely hear much about the downside of tweeting: those risk/reward tradeoffs with which advisors are so familiar.
Tweeting, after all, has the two-edged quality of being both spontaneous and a permanent communication that, thanks to re-tweeting, can “go viral” to a staggering number of readers, in a very short time—which, in today’s “Gotcha!” media world is far more likely to happen with an advisors’ gaffe than to his or her brilliant advice.
To get a handle on the potential exposure that tweeting advisors face, I ran a few Google searches on topics such as famous tweets, infamous tweets, controversial tweets, Twitter disasters, and Twitter fails (I’m not a total Neanderthal; my grandfather on my mother’s side was Cro-Magnon). The results were as informative as they were entertaining—I highly recommend it to any advisors who already have, or are intent on opening, business Twitter accounts. They even included a few, not many, articles about the potential business risks of tweeting, and how to manage them.
I’ll spare you the list of “controversial” tweets that were either blatantly, or interpreted to be, racist or gay-bashing. Let’s just assume that as professional advisors, you’re all well aware of our current social sensitivity to these issues. But I would add a cautionary note that Twitterdom seems to be littered with the wreckage of careers and companies of people who believed their tweets where within the bounds of political correctness, only to have the public decide otherwise. I’ll also skip the sexually oriented tweets that Tiger Woods and Anthony Weiner (not to mention the lengthy, now public exchange between “Candy DeepThroat” and Matt Barnes of the L.A. Lakers) have so graphically demonstrated are a really bad idea.
Here then, with those admittedly sizable omissions, is my list of the most educational and amusing tweets to be found on the Internet, in three categories: celebrity (leaning on theweek.com), sports (with help from complex.com/sports), and business (from inc.com):