Aside from its lofty price tag reported recently, Twitter is making the headlines yet again as public figures continue to fall foul of the micro-blogging website and social media darling.

In the UK, Liverpool forward Ryan Babel has become the first footballer to be charged with improper conduct by the FA, after he posted a mocked-up picture of referee Howard Webb wearing a Manchester United shirt. Upset at Webb’s handling of last Sunday’s FA Cup third round tie, Babel wrote: “And they call him one of the best referees. That’s a joke. SMH [shaking my head].”

What is most certainly not a joke are the implications that an ill-considered and spur-of-the-moment comment posted instantaneously to the masses via the web [not Webb] can have from a PR perspective.

Recent gaffes calling for hasty apologies/retractions include England cricketer Tim Bresnan’s “…who the f*** are you?” retort to jibes about his weight; Aldershot footballer Marvin Morgan’s outburst at supporters that had booed him off the pitch “…I hope you all die”; and David Bentley’s wife advising Spurs manager ‘arry Redknapp to “Sort it out…” for not playing her husband more regularly [although it seems ‘arry did take her advice, with Bentley on the brink of a loan move to Birmingham].

It’s not just sporting personalities and Twitter that don’t tend to mix too well. In the US, Courtney Love, the singer and actress never too far from courting controversy, has become the first high profile celebrity to be sued over comments made on the micro-blogging site. Love used her Twitter account to grossly insult fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir (un-repeatedly so) during a dispute over payment for clothes – a comment picked up automatically by 40,000 people and, in turn, passed on to others. And last year, MP Kerry McCarthy was cautioned by police for illegally revealing UK election results via Twitter ahead of the final count.

Amidst the traditional New Year’s resolutions, all of this serves as a timely reminder to those in the public eye: watch what you tweet!

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