Everyone could benefit from having a capable editor, and outside oversight definitely isn’t part of the tweeting process.
When Mendenhall decided he should contribute to the bin Laden chatter, self-editing was his only safety net. He pushed the button — then came the uproar.
In January, another Twitter-fueled mess occurred after several NFL players and analysts eviscerated injured quarterback Jay Cutler for removing himself during the Chicago-Green Bay NFC championship game.
The Bears’ starter was labeled as a quitter in tweets, but some players backtracked after learning Cutler suffered a second-degree medial collateral ligament tear.
Athletes in this market have encountered trouble on Twitter for criticizing fans’ behavior, challenging people to fight and posting inappropriate pictures.
Of course, athletes are not alone in making unfortunate choices during the use of social media.
People in many walks of life make bad decisions every day on Twitter. But they lack the platform to draw as much attention to their mistakes.
“I deal with this with my daughter all the time,” Alexander said. “She’s quick to put a picture up or quick to write something crazy to her friends, and just not realizing that everybody out there can see this. Once you put it out there, it’s out there. And even if you do erase it, there’s really no erasing it, because professionals can still go in there and find it.
“With a lot of guys, a lot of athletes, they don’t really realize how big it is and how fast it moves. You would think they would know, but a lot of these guys just go through trial and error. As many times as you want to, you can tell somebody, ‘Don’t do this,’ but until they get hit over the head with it, they really don’t learn their lesson.”
Mendenhall is the latest athlete to figure it out the hard way.