Loose Lips Still Sink Ships

In an era when news about an earthquake travels tweet-by-tweet and a risqué photo posted to Facebook can cost you employment, one has to shake their heads and wonder why people continue to use the tools of social media without thinking about the repercussions and fallout from some of their actions. A case in point is the resignation of Patrick Delany, an Assemblyman here in New Jersey. The political website PolitickerNJ.com Monday published a racially-charged e-mail believed to have been sent to Carl Lewis, the former Olympian who has attempted to become a candidate for a State Senate seat in New Jersey,  from former Assemblyman Patrick Delany’s wife.

A story in the Star Ledger reprinted the email:

“Imagine having dark skin and name recognition and the nerve to think that equalled [sic] knowing something about politics,” Jennfier Delaney, a Burlington County GOP committeewoman at the time, wrote in the July 7 message in response to a mass e-mail from the Lewis campaign criticizing Gov. Chris Christie.

The e-mail was first published Monday by the political website PolitickerNJ.com, which cited it as the reason for Delany’s resignation. A copy of the message was independently obtained by the Star-Ledger. Fourteen minutes after the article was posted online, Delany issued a statement acknowledging the authenticity of the e-mail and conceding that was the reason he resigned.

“I am deeply disappointed in my wife’s decision to send that e-mail to Mr. Lewis’ campaign; it does not reflect my personal beliefs whatsoever,” he said. He went on: “In an attempt to repair the serious damage this has caused to our marriage, and to protect our kids from public humiliation, I decided to leave public life. On behalf of my family, we sincerely apologize to Mr. Lewis for any pain this caused him.”

Any business today needs to carefully monitor what is being said and posted about them on social media platforms. What’s also needed is to observe closely what news and items employees and colleagues are saying as well.

Had a disappointing experience with a client partner? Why let anyone else know? Pitching a piece of new business? Make sure to keep your strategic plan buttoned up. No need having a potential opponent know what your pitch will be.

An employee has left your employ. What are they saying about you? You can monitor their posts. Worried about sensitive information getting out to staff? Keep it away from the web and make sure only a small circle of trusted advisors are in the mix.

Frustrated about something at work or with a client? Make sure what you say privately to others doesn’t become public.

In World War II, the saying, “Loose lips sink ships,” became the standard for warning people not to say things that could damage the allied war effort. Those words still ring true today whether they are words, tweets or posts. Curbing what you say and what others say about you can save a job, client and reputation. Make sure you’re prepared to keep your lips and those around you sealed.

Tom Cosentino

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