THE one upside to a Twitter disaster is that there's always someone to turn to for advice.

Let's face it, if you make a social media blunder, you're far from alone. A Twitter pile on, though, can feel like a very lonely place - take it from one who knows.

Glasgow SNP councillor Rhiannon Spear suspended her account following a robustly negative reaction to a tweet she posted about the UK's inglorious performance at Eurovision.

Nul points for poor old Blighty as Europe froze us out. "Even Ireland," I saw a few people tweet, people who presumably failed their Higher history.

“It’s OK Europe," Ms Spear posted, "We hate the United Kingdom too. Love, Scotland.” Needle scratch.

The scene is not too difficult to imagine. It's been a long, tough year and Eurovision is the sort of glorious nonsense some of need, some glitzy, silly, musical diversion with Graham Norton's sarcastic compering bringing warm memories of national uncle Terry Wogan.

If you watching Eurovision on Saturday night you were having a rare old time. And then one tweet. And then the phone starts going and the mentions grow out of control. The stomach sinks, the heart contracts and you realise you've scuppered it.

Pearls were clutched. It was, said the Scottish Tories, an example of the SNP's "toxic obsession with division".

"Abhorrent language," chief whip Stephen Kerr added.

Ms Spear, who represents the Greater Pollok ward, might have turned to Emily Thornberry, whose 2014 tweet of a St George's flag lost her a shadow cabinet position.

The then-Shadow Attorney General posted a photograph of a flag on the front of a council house with the words "image from #Rochester" and was accused of New Labour snobbery, sneering at hard working patriots.

At the time, there was bafflement from our American cousins who simply couldn't compute that a photograph of a country's flag might be a resignation matter. They pledge allegiance, we take offence. It's a cultural thing, divided by a common national symbol.

Ms Spear, who issued the classic apology for any offence caused, was then reported to Police Scotland although it's not clear on what grounds. A hate crime?

This doesn't seem like such a keen use of police resources. It was a highly daft tweet, but daftness is not yet criminal.

Closer to home, Ms Spear might have sought succour from Humza Yousaf, whose tweet following the disgraceful Rangers title celebration scenes two weeks ago brought along the ire of the worst of the Bears.

Mr Yousaf posted, regarding a video apparently showing Rangers players using sectarian language. "I have also been made aware of this clip, if (and I stress if) this clip is genuine then any player or staff member found to be guilty of anti-Catholic hatred should be shown the door by the Club.

"It is right Police Scot investigate & determine the facts around it."

That tweet should really be a classic of the genre, an excellent example of how to use social media. Former Justice Minister, he's talking about a specific field. He's using careful caveats and thoughtful language. And he's making a completely reasonable point that any right-thinking person can get behind - we don't tolerate religious hatred here.

There was fury and performative offence taking regardless. Which shows the pitfall of Twitter - it doesn't matter a jot how careful you are, people will still be affronted. The personal comfort is that if you know you've been thoughtful, you can walk away with your head high.

The problem is that, no matter how cautious you are, people are partisan and struggle to take individual situations on their individual merits. Looking at the feedback online. Ms Spear was largely supported by independence supporters and those who back her stance on trans rights, about which she is vocal.

Those against her were largely in the pro-union camp and who dispute the politician on the prominent issues she supports.

It's always interesting to see people make their partisan hot takes on these things. Some read the tweet as the councillor saying she meant Scotland hates the UK state, not its people, and so felt it was fair enough. Others were unhappy at their views being presumed - who is this "we"?

Only Ms Spear knows exactly what she meant but once you post something online, the view of the poster ceases to matter.

Effective social media use is a fine balancing act: have personality, but not too much. Have firm positions, but not too firm. Take part in debates, but not too stridently. Even then, one woman's hilarious joke is another's glaring misstep.

Unless you're, say, Piers Morgan, and fuel your online presence with relentless controversies. Must be exhausting.

There are certain topics that are guaranteed to cause trouble on Twitter, Scottish independence of course being one such. Taking a perceived dig at the English gives the impression of an immaturity inappropriate to a politician.

In the ongoing debate about Scotland's next steps, now is the time for measured and sensible discourse from civic leaders on the issue. Not to be po-faced, but if I was looking to persuade people to take my part in a major decision about the future of the country, I'd hang back on the jokes and proceed with extreme caution.

Twitter pile-ons can often contain justified criticism, as in this case. If you're a politician and your defence is "it was just a joke" then you've gone wrong.

On reactivating her account later this week, the politician shared some of the appalling abuse she'd received post-EuroTweetGate, a completely unacceptable part of being in the public eye.

In the eyes of these storms, it's difficult to weed out good faith responses so sensible complaints are drowned out. To err is human but it can be useful to have these errors pointed out respectfully and ensure they're not repeated. Social media abuse obscures the error by turning the debate into a conversation about victimhood.

At a time of division and dispute and calls to #BeKind, any sort of comment about hatred is highly unwise, as is the refusal to issue a full apology. Rightly, we expect better things from our elected representatives, if only they could remember.