How to ruin your life with social networking

Learn how to do it, as that's the only way to learn how not to do it.

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Don't ruin your political career

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Picture courtesy of Flickr user Donald Macleod

When Britain's Labour Party recruited 24-year-old Stuart MacLennan to run for a Parliament seat in Scotland in this past year's election, they thought they had a rising star on their hand, a young up-and-comer who was social-media-savvy. Perhaps they should have checked his Twitter feed first, since he spent much of his tweeting energy obscenely insulting Labour's political foes and various British pop culture figures alike. Worse, he referred to the elderly -- who vote in much greater relative numbers than the young -- as "coffin-dodgers." Labour disowned him and, in a probably unrelated matter, went on to lose the election.

Of course, one can bounce back from Facebook political ruin. Jon Favreau, Barack Obama's 29-year-old head speechwriter, was famously spotted in a Facebook picture groping a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton -- who had been Obama's primary rival but had by that time been offered the position of Secretary of State. Favreau apologized, the scandal died down, and he kept his job.

Next page: Don't be too welcoming

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