Many people find Twitter to be valuable tool and Donald Trump, with 20 million followers on Twitter, is a firm believer in it as a means of communication. However it has its dangers and we have certainly seen that with some politicians on this side of the Atlantic.
There is always the danger of that ill-considered tweet, possibly late at night, which ends up requiring an apology or even a resignation. It happens with most political parties although Sinn Fein seem particularly prone to poor judgment. Recently Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley had to apologise for several tweets and eventually deleted his social media accounts.
Earlier in the year Martina Anderson had to apologise 'unreservedly' for a tweet about victims and back in February Sinn Fein TD Reada Cronin was in trouble.
There is also a long list of Labour and Conservative MPs who have also been in bother over unwise or unsavoury tweets and some members of the House of Lords have also been in bother.
However I sometimes think that such tweets often give us an insight into the people who write them.
In a press statement or an interview public figures will usually stick to the well-rehearsed lines or what they regard as 'politically correct'. But they are less likely to filter what they say in a tweet so perhaps those tweets expose what they really think.
I was reminded of such thoughts about Twitter when I read a tweet from Ciaran O Maolain which he posted on the evening of Christmas Day. You don't know Ciaran, well don't worry, just bear with me for a moment.
Here is what he tweeted on Christmas Day. "It's reasonable to assume that the small corpus of the Scots language that gained traction here came from the southwestern areas of Scotland where Scots was spoken and from where the scum were planted in Ireland."
Not surprisingly his description of the first generation of Ulster-Scots as 'scum' proved contentious but there was no backing down. The following day he tweeted: "As for those who left Scotland to colonise Ireland, I'll say only this: they weren't missed back hame."
Of course he is perfectly entitled to believe that if he wants and he does state that "views expressed are my own". However it is an interesting tweet, and here's why.
Ciaran O Maolain used to work at the Centre for the Study of Conflict at the University of Ulster but then took up the important position of Head of Policy at the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.
The Human Rights Commission was "established on the basis of the Belfast Agreement" and is tasked with advising the Westminster government, the Northern Ireland Executive and other key agencies. The Head of Policy in such an organisation, which advises government, is an important position and that is what makes Ciaran O Maolain's tweet about "scum" who "weren't missed back hame" particularly significant.
He is no longer with the Human Rights Commission and today he describes himself as 'a journalist and human rights consultant'. He is also a trade union branch secretary and an activist in the world of Irish traditional music.
However he was the Head of Policy for a decade, at a time when the Human Rights Commission was preparing detailed submissions and reports on policy issues relating to culture and language, both Irish and Ulster-Scots.
So when he was in that role and writing or overseeing the writing of reports on Ulster-Scots, did he believe that the Scots who settled in Ulster were "scum" who "weren't missed back hame"?
Moreover how would such views have accorded with the legal obligation on the NIHRC to 'promote good relations'?
Thankfully we are now in a better place and last year the current chief executive of the Human Rights Commission gave a very informative and much-appreciated talk to an Ulster-Scots audience on linguistic and cultural rights. Such progress is welcome.
However there are broader issues around this and here is one of them.
If a public figure, such as a prominent trade unionist, were to tweet some such comment about any other group, African, Chinese, or Irish or whatever, it would be deemed unacceptable, even racist.
Are those of us who identify as Ulster-Scots any less deserving of respect?