Making Corrections in Social Media

I won’t bore you with the tale that prompted this entry. Suffice to say, I’m not perfect. Odds are, you aren’t either. The question is, what do you do when you make an error in the unforgiving environment of social media?

You know it happens: you’ve misspelled something or said the wrong thing–or worse, typed something horrifically inappropriate–and clicked “Post.” Sometimes you catch it yourself and have the opportunity to correct it yourself within a few seconds. More likely, someone else–anyone from your best friend to your boss to your customer–catches the faux pas, and then you have to recover. You might even see your inbox filling up with all sorts of rude, snarky, or actually outraged messages reminding you of how foolish you were.

Now what?

The internet is not forgiving: anything you type, for good or ill, can end up on the other side of the world in a few seconds. Suddenly some stranger in Kathmandu or Los Angeles or London starts laughing or screaming at you because of a bad keystroke. My advice is brief and to the point because the more you beat yourself up about it the less likely you are to be constructive.

  • Calm down.
  • Admit the error.
  • Correct or remove the error.
  • Apologize, if necessary.
  • Make restitution, if necessary.
  • Move on.

And yes, you might end up facing a momentary notoriety for inappropriate internet posting, but the “good news” about the internet, such as it is, is that after your 15 seconds (or 15 minutes) of infamy, something else will capture the public’s short attention span.

Dug Squirrel

The downside of the internet is that it never forgets, and even if you’ve forgotten something foolish you posted five years ago, someone out there most likely saved a copy and keeps it out there in the public domain for others to see, mock, or condemn. Also, depending on the nature and severity of your error, you might be living with the consequences hours, days, or years later. In my case, I made a factual error on my Facebook page and followed the advice I just dispensed above, with the added bonus of getting another blog entry out of it.

Bottom line: be mindful of what you post on social media because someone will find it.

About Bart Leahy

Freelance Technical Writer, Science Cheerleader Event & Membership Director, and an all-around nice guy. Here to help.
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