Here's a piece of advice for American politicians: Be careful of what you tweet, or at the very least, hire a competent social media team.
In the span of just five days, Governors Jack Markell (D-Del.) and Rick Perry (R-Texas) have both committed rather embarrassing Twitter blunders. On Thursday, Markell tweeted about an event announcing a new initiative to help disadvantaged students:
But this was the link he tweeted out instead:
Markell (or his team) quickly deleted the photo, and tweeted this:
Later, Markell's staff put out this rather complicated explanation:
"During this morning's event, a tweet was composed with a link to what was supposed to be a picture that had just been uploaded to the Internet of the Governor's education announcement. While the tweet was being edited, the auto-generated link for the picture was inadvertently altered. As a result, the picture linked to the tweet was a random, unrelated and inappropriate picture that has been on the internet since 2010, and not the just-uploaded picture of the event. The tweet was deleted and we apologize for the error.
The lessons here are don't compose tweets too quickly and there is a lot of odd stuff on the Internet. We just wish the accidental link had been a cat video."
But while Markell's bondage tweet could be seen as accidental or innocuous, Perry's snafu is harder to clear up. On Sunday night, this image was tweeted from his personal account:
If you're confused, that's a rather unflattering picture of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, stylized like Dos Equis' "Most Interesting Man in the World" ad.
Lehmberg's drunk-driving arrest triggered the alleged standoff between Perry and the Public Integrity Unit (of which Lehmberg was the head until she resigned), which led to Perry's indictment over charges of abuse of power. As the Houston Chronicle points out, Lehmberg did not indict Perry, and she and other officials actually recused themselves from the case. The tweeter apparently thought otherwise.
As backlash to the tweet began, Perry (or someone in his office) deleted the picture and tweeted this:
It is entirely possible that a hacker or a misguided staffer gained access to Perry's account. But the lesson to be learned is this: If you're a politician and you're going to do social media, do it right. Also, check to make sure that you and your staffers don't have random bondage pics and tacky memes on your computers.
Then again, maybe it's a good idea for politicians to just never tweet, ever. Right, Anthony Weiner?
We'll make an exception for Rep. John Dingell.