All you Web-savvy social media mavens out there be warned: being really good at using social media to communicate will not exempt you from doing something really, really stupid. In fact, it may increase the chances.
I say this based on the story of Lieutenant Sacha Dratwa, the 26-year-old who is widely credited as the architect of the Israeli Defense Force’s social media strategy to shape global public opinion during its recent conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Dratwa, who led the Israeli PR push across social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest, was recently profiled by Gawker, among other media sites, which probably explains what happens next.
Having rocketed (um, risen?) to sudden fame, Dratwa apparently didn’t have the time or foresight to remove offensive photos of himself from his Facebook profile. Or rather, one photo in particular, which showed Dratwa with his face daubed with mud from the Dead Sea (a tourist standard) under the caption “Obama style.”
Yes, it’s a blackface joke, which is not a super thing to have on one’s personal Facebook page, especially if one happens to be in PR. The photo was discovered by a Lebanese blogger named Amal Saad-Ghorayeb and the rest is Internet history.
No surprise, Dratwa has set his profile to private and posted a note: “There have been attempts to make use of private photos from my Facebook profile in order to publicly misrepresent my opinions. Due to the amount of public attention I've garnered in recent days I have decided to restrict access to my page, in order to protect my privacy and prevent further cynical use of the information therein.”
Apparently, if you get your opponents, you’re “savvy”; if they get you, they’re “cynical.”