The internet and social media revolution has been a wonderful phenomenon – on the whole. Through sites such as Facebook, Linked In and Friends Reunited (think back a while!), we’ve been able to reconnect with people from the past in our lives. It may be school friends, former work buddies and long-lost cousins. Suddenly we’re all up to speed on what’s happening in everyone else’s lives – even including some day-to-day mundane details that we probably didn’t really need to know, like what someone’s eating for their lunch.

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by  Nicola since 1972  Caption: It’s great to reconnect with friends you’ve lost touch with

Whoever pops into your head, you can message them instantaneously, one way or another. But there is a danger in the ability to blurt out something that’s inappropriate or even offensive if you’re not 100% on the ball and not thinking about what you’re doing when you post. These kinds of slip-up are so much easier to make than if you were writing a letter and sending it by snail mail, when you’d be more likely to read what you wrote before you sent it.

Occasionally, there are some major gaffes made by stars, celebrities or companies that end up going viral. Take a look at this collection of the recent finest social media slip-ups made by big names and companies and see how badly things can go with a simple click of the mouse. The trouble is, once something is out there on the net, there’s an awful lot of work that needs to go into correcting a big social gaffe.

We can all learn a lesson from these public moments of humiliation. For a start, one big rule always to stand by is to never post ‘under the influence’. You can’t expect to post when you’ve had a few drinks and have the normal amount of judgement that you’d have when sober. What may seem hilarious to you at the end of a big night out could seem crushingly inappropriate in the cold light of day the next morning.

Another is to recognise the danger zones. Contact lists can often catch us out. For example, if you’ve got a friend called Ted and a manager called Ted, it’s best to store them surname first, so you don’t send the wrong Ted the wrong message. Otherwise, a simple joke in the wrong direction could have a very negative effect on your chances of promotion!

Gossip has always been a dangerous territory – people who gossip often get found out one way or another. With social media and email, though, the likeliest person to catch you out is you. For example, if you’re writing a gossipy email about someone, you could easily send it to them rather than the planned recipient because you’ll be thinking about them and have their name in your head! The best advice here is not to gossip at all, but if you have to do it, then you should do it verbally, as you’ll be less likely to make any slip-ups!!

We probably wouldn’t be in touch with so many people today if it wasn’t for social media and email, but in order to not lose any of your friends and wider network connections, it’s always worth double-checking whatever you’re going to post or send!

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