Justine Sacco–how Twitter became the Judge and Executioner during an international flight
The only thing that is shared around the world faster than a great Tweet is a stupid tweet.
This is a lesson that Justine Sacco has learnt after she tweeted:
During her flight from London to South Africa, the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet spontaneously swept Twitter as people were outraged by her racist Tweet and eyes were glued the timeline to see what Justine would do.
Upon landing in South Africa and switching on her phone, I would assume that the phone was inundated with beeps and pings of voicemails, tweets and emails from friends warning her of what has happened during her flight.
It would seem that she had first deleted her Tweet and then after seeing her Twitter following increased to over 8000, she deleted her Twitter account all together. Her Facebook account was also deleted.
So what actually happened ?
By all the attention one would expect Justine to be a celebrity or a politician but nope. Up until this morning, most people never heard of Justine Sacco who is the chief of PR at IAC whose clients include Ask.com, Vimeo, Match.com and Urbanspoon.
Justine is a regular person who uses twitter and had posted a ridiculous tweet which resulted in backlash.
The nature of Twitter is that typically accounts are open for anyone to read. This is where it gets dangerous as anyone is able to pick up any comment and instantly pass judgment and make assumption and in the process add their 2 cents. All from the comfort of tablet in the lounge whilst someone’ name, career and reputation are dragged through the mud.
Twitter is like a reality show.
If you follow someone’s timeline you could pick up just those laughable moment and make them look like a joker, or you could pick up someone’s serious moments or someone’s flirting moment. Each one of those snapshots doesn’t paint the picture of the person, just shows a moment in their life. Things on Twitter also get “lost in translation” and don’t reflect the person’s personality or the culture of where they are from. In the UK, the word for cigarette is known as a “fag” but if you did not know that then you would be outraged at how some people are insensitive to gay-rights.
I don’t know Justine and I certainly don’t support her Tweet. But lets be honest, we all know people who in private have made many jokes (much much worse comments) about people’s race, religion, ideas so this “holier than thou self-righteous” is really just ridiculous.
The same sentiment was felt on Twitter with the #FakeInterpreter but after the ridicule died down, I didn’t see much protest action in getting a proper sign language interpreter to every TV show or every news broadcast. The moment had passed. The tweets were tweeted. Life carried on.
“sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is just rubbish – the power of word, mixed with mob-mentality and the instant share ability and non-accountability of Social Medial is a dangerous Molotov-cocktail.
Should she not had tweeted that comment – absolutely.
Should everyone be careful about what they post online – 100%.
Could this mass-jury-and-executioner-style-vigilantly gone out of hand – I think so.
Let this be a lesson to us all – what goes online, not only stays online, but is open to everyone’s opinions regardless if they are valid or not valid.