Adding To The Noise

A critical view of new media, new technology and new marketing.

24 Hour Rule: What Harry S. Truman Can Teach Us About Social Media

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Dean Obeidallah starts off a recent CNN article with “Who could’ve ever predicted that 140 characters could screw up so many people’s lives?” His article was about the now famous ex-PR professional Justine Sacco’s regretful tweet before hopping on a 12 hour flight.

I am sure you can think of numerous “think before you tweet” movements. Below is a recap of the top ten from 2013.

70 years ago our 33rd president Harry S. Truman practiced a good policy when it came to writing letters. Any letters written in anger sat on his desk 24 hours before they could be mailed. If he felt the same, he sent the letter, but by the end of his life he had a large desk drawer full of unmailed letters.

How prevalent are social media mistakes? A study finds that 1 in 4 adults regret posts they have made on social media. Emotionally charged posts are the most regretful, with 29% of people saying they’ve feared getting fired or turned down for a job over a post.

With an instant mass publishing medium in our hands at all times, it’s harder than ever to have a “cooling off period.”

So what can we do today? This blog provides some useful tips.

1. Use Evernote As Your Desk Drawer. Get those thoughts out in a notes program as a draft. Check it the next day to see if you still want to send it.

2. There’s An App For That. The app “Social Interlock” forces you to perform sobriety tests, if you fail, you’re locked out.

3. Phone A Friend. Angry? Give your phone to a friend until you calm down.

4. Plan Ahead. Make a list ahead of time of what you will and will not post on social media. Thinking this through and consulting before you text could save you and others a lot of heart ache.

5. Use A 24 Minute Rule. When you get the urge to tweet, set a timer or alarm on your phone. If it’s still a good idea after time has passed, go ahead. Or perhaps that Tweet will no longer seem so important.

6. Be An Editor. If you do post something you regret, go back and edit or delete your posts. This is not full proof, but can be much better than doing nothing.

Don’t be fooled by the childhood saying “Stick and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” It is simply false. Your words are a powerful weapon that can be used for good or bad. Think them through carefully. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

What’s your personal social media policy?

Author: Keith A. Quesenberry

Marketing Professor with Industry Experience

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