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Bearded Man

Australian professor has ‘Ed Balls’ moment on Twitter

Bearded Man

Australian professor has ‘Ed Balls’ moment on Twitter

On April 28th, 2011, politician Ed Balls wrote himself into Twitter goof folklore by accidentally tweeting his own name. Almost nine years on to the day, a professor playing a key role in Australia’s coronavirus research has given him a run for his money with a similar blunder.

In the small hours of this morning (or mid-to-late afternoon in Australian time), immunologist Professor Peter Doherty, patron of the Doherty Institute, baffled his followers with the below tweet:

Like Balls, it seems that Professor Doherty confused searching with tweeting, meaning that rather than finding the opening hours for Australian alcohol store Dan Murphy’s, he tweeted his query to his nearly 27,000 followers. Doherty’s replies to his tweet suggest that he intended to use Google, but entered his query into the tweet box on Twitter instead.

Rather than delete his tweet, the professor has taken his mistake and the follow-ups to it in good humour.

One Twitter user even helped him out by providing a screenshot of the retailer’s opening hours, prompting Professor Doherty to quip “why bother with Google?”

Balls, too, has been able to laugh about his error over the years, including signing a printout of the tweet in 2015, and featuring it in a cake he baked in 2016, shortly after featuring in Sport Relief Bake Off that year.

It’s doubtful whether April 27th will become known as ‘Professor Doherty Day’ in the same way as April 28th is ‘Ed Balls Day’, but it’s unlikely that anything else he tweets today will get the same levels of attention. Hopefully he’ll have the time to get himself down to Dan Murphy’s and get over his gaffe with a tipple or two!

Both men have displayed that it’s best to own your mistake if this happens, but the internet can be ruthless and unforgiving, so it’s better still to avoid such errors in the first place. For professional social media that ties in with your blog and website, speak to us at Engage Web.

John Murray

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