I have been following the story of one of our local politicians. Fliss Butcher is deeply unhappy with how the Dunedin City Council is being organised. And long story short, is off on sick leave.
The story has been written up in our local paper, the Otago Daily Times. The reporter, Mark Price, tells the story and ends his article that Fliss is continuing to communicate to people via Twitter and he quotes one of her tweets, which has personal content.
What interested me about this story was that the reporter had used Twitter to get information about Fliss...that Twitter is no longer a fad but a mainstream source of information.
A little later Fliss made this comment on Twitter. "Incredible to think Mark Price from ODT must have been scrolling through my twitter account. Wot about twitter ettiquiette?"
The truth is that anything you openly publish on the Internet, be it in Twitter, Facebook, blogs or whatever, is fair game to reporters or anyone else, and open to any number of uses and interpretations. And everything you say runs the risk of being taken out of context.
I am not saying that what the reporter did is good practice, and I certainly am not criticising Fliss. But I feel the lesson for us all (even if we are not public figure like Fliss) is: if we do not want people mis-quoting us, or using our personal information with "nefarious" motives we must either censor what we say, or keep our Twitter, Facebook etc accounts closed to invited people only.
Have you ever had the experience of having your online words reported in a way that harmed or upset you?