How to gaffe-proof your Twitter account

The Maclean's PoliTweet tool is just what candidates and their staffers need. Try it today to see if that tweet will get you into trouble!


This election campaign has established a new Andy Warhol-style maxim: In the future, everyone will be a political candidate for 15 minutes—until a reporter goes through his or her Twitter feed and uncovers disturbing views on race, homosexuality or the third season of Gilmore Girls.

Social media gaffes have hit all the major parties, who apparently still let people run for office without first checking to see if their Facebook status update is: “Hanging out on the deck, being religiously intolerant.”

Understand: The real victims here are luckless war-room staffers tasked with trudging through social media accounts on a quest for offensive remarks. Only God knows how many photographed entrees and vacation selfies they’ve had to endure.

But it’s a problem for the parties, too. Happily, there is now a solution. Earlier this year, Twitter introduced a “Ready to tweet?” option for its TweetDeck app. It’s an additional box that needs to be ticked to confirm you really want to pull the trigger on that scorching “My flight is slightly delayed” hot take.

As a gaffe-prevention tool, the “Ready to tweet?” option is a step in the right direction. But it’s not enough to protect political candidates and their staffers.

Which is why I invented PoliTweet.

Are you an aspiring MP with something to share on Twitter? Simply type your message of 140 characters or fewer, then navigate PoliTweet’s 15-step confirmation process. It’s the only tweeting platform designed to ensure you never publish anything that can later be used by political rivals to make you look like a dumbass.

Type your tweet below. We’ve also written an innocuous one for you, as a default!

Now, when you’re ready, follow the checklist below, and see if you’re good to go:

Ready to tweet?

No, seriously, ready to tweet?

Nothing potentially controversial in this tweet?

No racial stereotypes, inflammatory faith declarations or sexual daydreams featuring Michelle Pfeiffer and a Slip ’N Slide?

No references to someone being worse than Hitler, or Hitler having been misunderstood, or Hitler being the name of your dog? No photo attached of you dressed up for Halloween as Hitler, or Hitler’s moustache, or Blackface Nazi Jesus bin Laden?

You’re aware that there’s a difference between publishing a tweet and whispering something to a friend, or even shouting it aloud in the produce section of a grocery store?

Attuned to the reality that a private tweet will never stay private, a deleted tweet will never truly be gone, and even an innocuous reference to William Shatner will make him call you out online for your “tripe?”

Cognizant of the fact that, should this tweet ultimately prove offensive, no one on the face of this Earth will believe your contention that you were hacked? (Hacking claims are the “I have no idea how this steroid got in my body” of the 2010s.)

Accepting of the fact that the passage of time will also fail to pass muster as a valid defence? (Sure, I used Twitter to tell the Pope to go stick it, but that was two whole weeks ago . . .)

Ready to overlook the hard truth that even the people who follow you don’t really care how many stars you give the new Madden?

So, seriously now, really think about it . . .

Ready to tweet?

Sure you ticked the above box because you’re actually ready to tweet, and not because you’re just used to ticking boxes online without reading the details of what you’re agreeing to, which is why the maker of iTunes now holds power of attorney over your financial affairs?

One hundred per cent certain nothing in this tweet will come back to haunt you?

Absolutely confident that what you’ve got to share with the world won’t graphically implode your career aspirations?

OK, then . . . Are you ready to tweet?

Finished? Now click the image below to see if PoliTweet approves.