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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Social Media Fail: GOP Operative Posts Home Addresses of Democratic Staffers on Twitter

Apparently Kat Stacks is running the National Republican Congressional Committee. Enraged over a claim by the Tom Perriello congressional campaign that opponent Robert Hurt's spokeswoman is a carpetbagger, NRCC press secretary Andy Sere decided to retaliate by posting the home addresses of several Perriello staffers on Twitter. Incredibly, the NRCC actually defended this childishness. Sere finally got around to deleting his tweets and a petition is now circulating demanding that he be banned from the social networking site, since posting personal information is in violation of Twitter's terms of Service.

Robert Hurt is not happy about this either. Prior to this stunt, he has been doing so well in the polls that there are rumors going around that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee considered Perriello a lost cause and was going to focus on funding more winnable races. These latest developments endanger all of that. In politics, going off message for just one second can destroy a campaign.

Unfortunately, Sere's actions are part of the "dark side" of social media. People with a grudge or an ax to grind can make your most personal information instantly available to millions of people. There was a case where a scorned ex-boyfriend posted his ex-girlfriends information in the adult services section of Craigslist. She was beaten and raped shortly after. So before we write off Sere's actions as a lapse in judgment, it is important to keep in mind that there are severe public safety concerns involved. What's interesting is that while the NRCC trolls have no problem blasting others personal information, they go to great lengths to conceal theirs!

Anyone working in politics or activism may want to do the same and have a "shadow address" to protect themselves against this kind of thing in the future.

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