How To Avoid Your Own Weinergate

Don't want to have embarrassing photos of your private parts on the Internet? Here's some advice.

The folks at the Today Show have some hints for “How to avoid your own Weinergate on Twitter.”

What’s public
Tweets: When you post an answer in the “What’s happening?” box and press “Tweet,” whatever you have posted will appear on your Twitter home timeline as well as on the home timelines of all Twitter account holders who follow you.

Retweets: Hover your mouse over a Tweet in your timeline and the option to “retweet” will appear. Think of it as an endorsement. The retweet will then appear in the timelines of all who follow you.

Replies: “Reply” gives you the opportunity to send a comment to the person who posted a Tweet that appears in your timeline. When you hit the reply button, type in your comment and then click “Tweet,” your reply will be posted on that person’s timeline.

Weinergate Lesson No. 1: Twitter users are quicker than you think. The congressman quickly realized his mistake and deleted the Tweet. However, in the meantime, the damaging Tweet had already been retweeted by another Twitter user. So don’t Tweet anything you don’t want the entire world ― including your boss, significant other and kids ― to know.

What’s private
Message, Direct Message or DM: Now simply referred to as “message” on Twitter, this is a way to send a private message to a Twitter follower. Just like Tweets, messages are limited to 140 characters.

That’s all well and good. Here is my shorter set of tips:

  1. Do not take or allow anyone to take photographs of your private parts. Period. Unless you’re a porn star or it’s a doctor and you suspect life threatening illness.
  2. Indeed, do not take or allow anyone to take photographs of you that you would not want to be shared with others.
  3. Do not post any embarrassing photos of yourself on any Internet  service, in any way, shape, or form. This includes email and private photo accounts such as Flickr or Picassa.




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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. I think I could make it shorter.

    Step One: Don’t be stupid
    Step Two: See Step One

  2. Yes, a simple “don’t take photos of your genitalia” should just about do it.

  3. G.A.Phillips says:

    lol, I can understand getting a chick to send you a pic pics. But sending a pic back, lol… Dude was completely tripping and should be tested for drugs.

    Plus Turtledog’s wife is like completely beautiful.I say drug test…

  4. Franklin says:

    Plus Turtledog’s wife is like completely beautiful.I say drug test…

    You have a good point, no doubt about it.