Minn. GOP Twitter flap shows pitfalls of social media

10:33 PM, Nov 2, 2012   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - A GOP state legislative aide is out of a job after an argument over Twitter got out of hand with Republican State Rep. John Kriesel.

A spokesperson with the Senate Republicans reported Bob Koss was no longer working for the Minnesota Senate. He would not say why.

The Twitter fight started Thursday night when Koss criticized Kriesel's stance against the marriage amendment. It's an amendment to the constitution that would ban gay marriage.

Kriesel answered the criticism by calling Koss a name. That's when Koss escalated the war of words by calling Kriesel "disgusting" and swearing at him.

And at one point, he tweeted Kriesel, who lost his legs while serving in Iraq, "go ahead and play your veterans card to shreds as you've done. You're a self-serving SOB and I pity you."

"When I went to sleep it was forgotten until this morning, then I saw my twitter account was on fire," Kriesel told KARE 11.

Kriesel, from Cottage Grove, is not seeking re-election. He says he regrets calling Koss a name, but nothing else about the heated exchange.

"I'm not going to back down from those people. I'm not intimidating by their comments. I think they are what's wrong with politics today," said Kriesel.

Kriesel has been criticized recently by some in his own party for his outspoken opposition to the marriage amendment.

Despite that, Kriesel told KARE 11, "I'm proud to be a Republican."

KARE 11 was unable to reach Koss for comment Friday.

The Twitter spat is another example of people's personal opinions spilling over into their public lives.

"Don't say anything that you wouldn't want your mom to see," said Greg Zimprich, a social media expert.

Zimprich used to head up General Mills' social media effort; everything from promotion to crisis communication.

"It's a good cautionary note of people being really aware of the fact it is an indelible record that is going to follow you," he said.

It's a record that can follow you to your office cubicle, which is why Zimprich recommends businesses have a social media policy in place.

"So if you don't at least have some guard rails in place to kind of help guide people's behavior online, I think you're asking for trouble," he said.

Zimprich says there are plenty of positives that come with using social media, but if you're not careful, problems can arise.

"This is a whole new world and people are still trying to figure it out," said Zimprich.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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