Did Rob Lowe know what he was in for when he attached the hashtag #TrappedInAHellHole to a tweet he wrote from a Winnipeg sports bar? Maybe – perhaps clearly – not. But that didn’t stop Winnipeg tweeters from taking very vocal offence at the perceived slur. “Feel free to leave the hellhole,” replied one. Another suggested that the hashtag was “a better description of being in a movie theater playing a Rob Lowe movie.” Ouch. Not surprisingly, the story got intense local and national coverage, even though it’s apparent the actor didn’t really mean to offend. When Lowe (who was in Winnipeg for the shooting of a biopic about Casey Anthony) wrote the offending tweet, he was in a sports bar trying to watch the NBA finals when the broadcast was interrupted, and through subsequent tweets it became clear that Lowe was referring to the bar as a “hellhole” rather than Winnipeg in general. Herein lies a cautionary tale about Twitter: it sometimes isn’t easy to get your point across with clarity in 140 characters or less. But you can’t afford to be ambiguous, because when you’re less than clear, few in the Twitterverse will give you the benefit of the doubt. Granted, in the hours following the gaffe, Lowe started tweeting more positive comments on Winnipeg, but there was ambiguity here too. Once he knew (or should have known) that he had given offence, Lowe should have unequivocally clarified what he meant and how he didn’t intend to bash his temporary home. “Whoops! #TrappedInAHellHole means the bar I was in, not beautiful Winnipeg! Sorry if I wasn’t clear!” would have fit nicely – and nipped this controversy in the bud.