Monday, November 28, 2011

A high school student stands up for her First Amendment rights...

...and wins.

Postmedia News recaps an interesting debate that took place in Kansas after a high school student tweeted something less-than-flattering about that state's governor.

Now, if you really want to start rolling in laughter, consider that the governor's director of communications was at one time a...yes, you got it...television news anchor and reporter.

There are some valuable lessons here:
1. Free speech is still free speech -- you might not like that the young woman was snarky in her comment about the governor but she had the right to speak her mind, and did.

2. People who think they are doing the right thing often ought to think about what they are doing...and the ramifications of those actions (and I'm not referring to the teenager). The governor's office would have been far better served by letting this go. This story, no matter how the governor's director of communications thought it would be framed, was going to be viewed as the governor picking on a teenager. There is no way, no way and I'll say it again, NO WAY any state leader is going to win that public relations battle.

3. Taking valuable time to identify social media commentary on a governor is not an efficient use of one's time. Yes, I understand the need to combat negative or inaccurate portrayals of such individuals, but the amount of material that can make it into onto Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other such communication mechanisms ensures that only the most serious of negative allegations should be addressed. A teenager's tweet is never going to make that cut.

4. The director of communications ought to resign. And if you can't see why, then think harder.

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