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David Lee King

Oops, What Did I Just Do – and What to Do Next



This afternoon, I checked in to a place on Foursquare that I’d never actually go visit in person. Nothing against interesting establishments … but the problem was, I wasn’t there – I was on a plane.

I had just landed at the Kansas City International Airport. The place I didn’t visit and the airport that I did visit share similar names on Foursquare (Kansas City International Airport, and Kansas City International Airport Glory Hole), and the full name of the second place doesn’t display on the iPhone Foursquare app (see the screenshot in this post). Not paying much attention, I checked into the wrong place (and quickly received multiple Twitter replies and DMs, kindly suggesting that I perhaps checked into the wrong place).

Anyone ever done that before? Signed up for an app on Facebook, only to spam your friends list? Suddenly found your Twitter account asking everyone to “click here” when all you did was try out a new service? Or, like me, click something, and then realize that’s not what you wanted to do … but too late to take it back? This has the potential to be pretty embarrassing (thinking about the time I clicked a link in an email from someone that I had been waiting for an email from, only to watch in horror as my email account started spamming everyone in my contact list … including all library staff email accounts).

Yep. Been there, done that. And it’s bound to happen to some of us with our organizational accounts, too. Many of you no doubt have found tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite extremely useful – you can log into multiple accounts, both personal and organizational, at the same time. It ends up saving a ton of time … until you accidentally forget to turn something off. Then, much embarrassment and backpedaling ensues.

When this inevitably happens… what should you do?

  • First – don’t panic. It was a mistake, and we all make them.
  • Second – simply publicly admit the mistake. Say something like “oops – wrong account.” Or “How did that happen? Sorry about that” or something similar.
  • Third – delete the mistake if you can (I couldn’t until hours later, and I decided to let the accidental check-in stand. I find it mildly humorous)
  • If you sent out something potentially malicious (like one of those rogue spammy Facebook apps), you should send out a message warning your followers/friends to not click the link, it’s spam, and add a quick “sorry about that.” They’ll understand – most likely, they have done it themselves, too.

And…

How can you avoid having this happen to you?

  • Look before you tweet – make sure you are sending what you think you are sending … before you send it!
  • Check for spelling oddities (auto-correct on the iPhone can do strange and amusing things to seemingly innocuous words).
  • If it’s an interesting-sounding app or tool, you might do a quick search in Google or Twitter first, to see what others thought about the app. This can quickly help weed out spammy apps.
  • Think about keeping your work accounts and your personal accounts separate. Meaning don’t put both on the same Tweetdeck install. Maybe use Hootsuite for work and Tweetdeck for personal, for example.

What else should I add here?

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