You have done it. Your co-workers have done it. You have seen it effect companies, athletes, celebrities. It is the curse of Stupid Tweet Syndrome.
Well, it is time to get some Stupid Tweet Insurance.
Kiln Group, an insurance specialist underwriting firm at Lloyds of London, wants to protect companies from the damage that Stupid Tweet Syndrome (our name for the disease) can cause. Details are not clear as to what exactly the insurance would pay out but if a brand is substantially damage by a vindictive or careless tweet, Kiln Group would be able to cover it.
AllTwitter at Media Bistro picked up the story from City News Toronto. Companies that get Stupid Tweet insurance could pay $100,000 for $10 million in coverage. If it seems like a joke, well yes there is a certain level of absurdity to the idea of insuring yourself against a tweet. Yet, the possibility of significant damage being done is very real.
Twitter is a mode of communication. Like any other mode of communication, people can cause harm to brand or reputation if they purposely send tweets that are lies. Would a libel suit not be considered libel just because it was tweeted and not, for instance, blogged?
AllTwitter cites Erik Dolden, a lawyer for Vancouver-based Dolden Wallace Folick LLP, who says that the tweet (or some derivation of) "My boss is a big fat cow," is very common. Employees tweeting disapproval of their bosses is nothing new but it can lead to lawsuits between the corporation and the employee and where there is the risk of lawsuits, there is insurance.
According to the report, Stupid Tweet insurance for individuals is probably five years away. So, celebrities and athletes that say idiotic or insensitive things on Twitter are not yet covered. But, the brands they represent could be. A recent example would be the dust up between insurance company Aflac and comedian Gilbert Gottfried. Gottfried was the "voice" of the Aflac duck until he was fired by the company after he made insensitive tweets about the recent earthquake in Japan. In the current Kiln Group scenario, Aflac would probably be able to cover itself against Gottfried's remarks, though the comedian himself would not be able to insure his personal brand for comments he made on the social network.