We hear all the time about the power of social media, but that power was demonstrated with a vengeance last week when a leading supply chain professional found himself at the centre of a storm with questions being asked in parliament.
The furore centres on a tweet by Tesco distribution director Steve Strachota who was thanking staff for their hard work during changes to the retailer’s depot network.
However, it was picked up on by Robert Halfon, who is Conservative MP for Harlow where a depot is closing. His interpretation of the tweet was that it was “seemingly celebrating the closure of the Harlow distribution centre which has put 800 local jobs in jeopardy”.
He went on to table a Parliamentary Early Day Motion to bring the tweet to the attention of other MPs and the Government.
And at that point the story got splashed by the BBC.
Not surprisingly, Tesco has moved quickly to limit the damage: the tweet has been removed and apologies issued. That should be the end of the matter.
But, it is a reminder to all of us that communications on forums like Twitter are not private, and what we might think is innocuous is not necessarily interpreted that way by others.