“The only real rule in social media is, ‘Don’t be an idiot,’” Jarvis says. But he also warns against “overreacting” to cases where that rule is broken. Andrew Goldman, who was suspended by New York Times Magazine last week, shuttered his Twitter account after an outcry about a couple of ill-advised tweets. “Should he have apologized? Yeah. And he did,” Jarvis says; “I would not want [Keys] to be too timid to make those kinds of experiments.” Keys may have compromised the Reuters name in a few tweets, but he’s used thousands more 140-character missives to provide useful links and information in a way that reflects positively on his employer.
Though De Rosa has a sense of fun about parody accounts and memes, he also wrote in a recent blog post that he’s become concerned during this election cycle that people are “latch[ing] on to the latest minutiae of the campaign.” He instituted a few changes in his social communication designed to counteract the effect; most of them boil down to providing context and detail — nearly impossible within Twitter’s 140 character limit. De Rosa wrote in an email to CJR: “Social media tends to grab onto these memes and if you’re not following the right people who do discuss real issues you’re left with very little intelligent information.”