The Labour leader must have thought it was such a good idea at the time. “Bob Holness has died: better show people I care by tweeting my respects.”
But in his haste to get the message out there, he made a rookie error that resulted in an embarrassing faux-pas:
@Ed_Miliband Sad to hear that Bob Holness has died. A generation will remember him fondly from Blackbusters.
Ooops. A bad mistake to make at any time, but in the week that you’ve been berating one of your MPs for her own Twitter misdemeanours regarding racial matters, a classic and costly Miliblunder.
On the one hand, you could argue that we’re all fallible and make mistakes, but on the other, ‘o’ and ‘a’ aren’t really close enough on a keyboard to plead user error. And besides, you’re making a public statement as a major politician, even if it is in 140 characters.
Check before you tweet!
The resulting furore has mainly been light-hearted: many people have had a few laughs at Ed’s expense on Twitter via the #EdMilibandGameShows hashtag, but at a time when the media spotlight has been shining so brightly on Diane Abbott and Miliband these past few days, he surely could have done without scoring such an unnecessary own goal.
To compound the error by tweeting a four-letter expletive imploring people to leave him alone shortly afterwards does him even less credit than his shoddy typing and lack of attention to detail.
The ability to proofread, and the importance of accuracy should never be underestimated.
They can save your reputation, and possibly your job!
And if it turns out that his Twitter account was hacked, and the ‘error’ was planted maliciously, as some have suggested, then it’s a timely reminder to take social media security seriously too.
The point remains: a single letter in the wrong place can cause you all sorts of bother!