Social Media Mistakes That Can Affect Your Career

| 4 min read

We are constantly reminded to be careful of what we post online, especially if you are looking for a job. You have to be mindful of the potential damage you could do to your reputation and the effect it could have on your career.

But people in high-profile positions have been guilty of not heeding this warning. And unlike most of us who can quickly dispose of the evidence before too much damage is done  ( such as that drunken tweet or shameful selfie) for people in high-profile positions there is very little time to take back what has been said before it’s plastered over newspapers or turned into a viral sensation.

Here are some famous cases of people with bad social media who weren’t able to take back what they had said before it became news around the world.

Inappropriate advertising

Designer Kenneth Cole caused a great deal of controversy when he made a distasteful comment that aimed to piggyback on the Egyptian revolution as a way of advertising his latest collection.

He tweeted, “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online”. Cole seemingly blast attitude towards the protests received a tremendous amount of criticism, so much so that he deleted the tweet and issued an official apology on Facebook

However, not learning from his mistakes (or rather realising he could bring more attention than he had initially thought) Cole once again used the Syrian conflict to promote his shoes in a tweet late last year when he said, “Boots on the ground” or not, let’s not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers. #Footwear”.

Miss communication

Justine Sacco was fired from her position as communications director of Interactive Corp when she sent out a racist tweet before boarding a flight to South Africa. Flying from London to Cape Town, Sacco tweeted: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” She didnt know about the huge controversy she had sparked until she landed 12 hours later. This was all the time it took for the tweet to spread outside of her humble following of 200 to major news outlets.

After discovering the backlash her joke had received Sacco deleted the offending tweet, Twitter account, and in fact her entire online presence  but the damage had already been done, leading to her dismissal from the the internet and media giant IAC, which owns popular websites such as, Vimeo and Tinder.

Living online

Known for her constantly updated (and relentlessly optimistic) Twitter feed, Paris Hilton’s social media habits almost landed her in trouble when a seemingly innocuous tweet could have been used in evidence against her when she was arrested on drug charges in 2010.

Paris was charged with possession when police found 8 grams of cocaine in her designer purse. She claimed that the purse and its contents were not hers although many online sources have pointed to a tweet that she sent out a little while before that pictures a similar looking bag with the comment “Love My New Chanel Purse I Got Today”.

Holiday request

Not all mistakes that grow into media frenzy are clouded with accusation  in some cases they can actually bring good fortune!
When security guard Greg Heaslip put in a holiday request with his line manager, the message was accidentally forwarded to 3500 coworkers at Arcadia. Very quickly the news spread from the internal employees that span the retail manager’s brands – such as BHS, Dorothy Perkins and Topshop – before erupting on social media as a viral campaign began to #GiveGregTheHoliday.

A surge of people came out in support of Greg as the story gathered attention and began to trend on Twitter until Greg was eventually offered a full holiday with all the trimmings from companies wanting to get in on the viral sensation.

What started as a simple faux-pas on the part of Greg’s boss came to a happy-ending. Greg opted to take his wife and daughter to Chessington World of Adventures and donate all the offered goods to the Stephen Sutton Cancer Charity.

Jide Otoki