Justine Sacco. Does the name ring a bell? Try ex-senior director of corporate communications for IAC. No? Okay, try: Justine who tweeted ‘Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!’ before she boarded her international flight, and was fired by the time she landed in Cape Town. Yes. That Justine Sacco.
Sadly, most people will probably remember Justine for what she said, and not what she meant to say.
- Cover all the angles: world views are as varied as the people who hold them. Draw up a mental checklist of all the possible audiences that could read your words, and view what you’ve written from their perspective … pre-tweet.
- Work those words: after you’ve constructed your tweet, keep rewriting it until it can’t be misunderstood.
- Let it lie: don’t give in to the urge to tweet immediately so you can say something clever or funny ahead of everyone else. Cultivate the habit of letting time elapse between when you type your tweet and tweet it, even if it’s only a few minutes. Those few minutes could save you a lot of pain later.
Donna is a creative writer who has tinkered with words for years. She has written newsletters and online articles, translated a book, and edited a variety of documents. She also reviews books. She owned her own training business and now facilitates The Plain Language Programme for Writers Write. She is currently working on her novel, which involves drinking lots of sweet tea. You can view her profile on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.
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