Rep. Anthony Weiner Scandal Makes Social Media Look Stupid

Maressa Brown

anthony weinerNew York Representative Anthony Weiner (Democrat) seems to have Twitter to blame for his unrelaxing Memorial Day weekend. On Saturday night, Weiner's account was "hacked" and a close-up photo of a man's underwear was tweeted to the congressman's 47,000+ followers and addressed specifically to a Seattle college student. Now, Weiner has to hire a lawyer to figure out what civil or criminal action he can take against his Twitter attacker -- and perhaps even Twitter for not being "secure" enough.

He also tweeted the following, which is definitely worth a snicker:

Tivo shot. FB hacked. Is my blender gonna attack me next? #TheToasterIsVeryLoyal

Funny, right? While I personally heart Rep. Weiner, I'm not so sure he's going to get the retribution he seeks for this Twitter hack-up. He should probably just see it as a red flag.

Ever since President Obama harnessed the power of social media to win the 2008 election, politicians have probably been thinking Facebook and Twitter are integral to engaging voters. And to an extent, they're right. But at the same time, maybe they need to be put on a Twitter/Facebook "diet," have their social media leashes tightened a bit? You know, I love that Weiner's able to laugh at what happened over the weekend, but is it really necessary for him and other politicians to act like chatty teenagers via Twitter? Do they need to be sending out twitpics, or checking in on FourSquare? Letting us know who they're rooting for in the Stanley Cup finals? Ehh ... no, not really.

I wouldn't be opposed to politicians using a bit more formality in their tweets or status updates. It could be something as simple as always having their links direct followers to their official .gov site for real updates or photos. I'm sure a lot of politicians already do that, and I know it's "boring" compared to tweeting stream of conscious mental diarrhea, but it certainly could be a defense mechanism against "hacker attacks." If we were constantly bored by our congresspeoples' tweets, and then all of a sudden, there was something porn-y, we'd all KNOW that it wasn't for real!

Then again, maybe we need a social media diet ourselves. Can't just consume everything (raw meat, artificial sweeteners, Sarah Palin's tweets) and think it's all going to serve us well. In other words, we should know by now that we can't trust everything we read online. So when a politician appears to tweet a pic of themselves in boxer briefs or whatever, we could just take it with a grain of salt! Cuz come on -- social media may be thought of as the new "publicist," but a tweet will never be on par with an official press release.

Do politicians need to rein it in on social media?


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