Think Before You Tweet: Nothing Posted Online Is Ever Truly Private

An important rule of thumb when communicating online is that nothing is ever truly private.  Anything you post, such as private message or emails, can be screen-captured and posted online as images.  Anything you put online could live forever even if you try to delete it.  The Anthony Weiner case is a classic example

The Sunlight Foundation makes the virtual indestructability of online communications blatantly obvious through its new project, Politwhoops.  The project is a website that saves and displays every tweet that was posted and then deleted by a politician.

Twitter thrives on instantaneous and real-time communication, and this fast-paced environment may encourage you to post the first thought you have.   You should, however, think before you tweet because everything you post and later decide to delete can be saved by groups like Politwhoops.  Most of the deleted tweets listed on the site are relatively benign, but the potential for embarrassment is definitely there.  The lesson is obvious: if an NGO focused on transparency in government is archiving deleting tweets as part of its official programming, be thoughtful about the communications you publish on the web.  You may not be able to take them back.

For more information on managing your online reputation and similar topics, please visit CSG’s National Leadership Center’s Sharing Capitol Ideas 2.0.