On the day of the Colorado shooting massacre, a certain advocate for firearms rights tweeted what could possibly be called the most misunderstood, and worst timed tweet in the history of social media. The world had just learned of the deadly shooting in Colorado when the Twitterverse exploded after the firearms advocate Tweeted this:
“Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?”
Absolutely nothing wrong with that, right? The content was positive, topical, and asked a question. Ordinarily, that hits on three of Ronn Torossian’s rules for a great tweet. Except, Torossian has four rules. The tweet ignored the final rule completely. Innocently … but completely.
You need to understand the context into which you are launching your missives. Don’t just fire it out there. Realize you are sending it into a very specific context. In this case, the context was a nation that was watching videos of families who had just learned their loved ones had been gunned down in cold blood by a crazy person.
They were NOT in the mood to read a cheery message about guns at that particular moment. So, they freaked out.
Looking back, some – many, in fact – said the reaction to this innocent tweet went far overboard. That there was no insult intended, and that the author of the tweet had no knowledge of the events.
Okay, fair point, but an equally fair point is akin to the rule that “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” To whit, ignorance of the context into which you are tweeting is no excuse for making such a colossal social media faux pas.
Torossian warns: people tend to act like social media is a vacuum, because they are often alone when they are tweeting. They text things they would never say out loud in public … and they do so without realizing they really are shouting it to the general public.
Torossian suggestions caution when interacting on social media. And always remember ALL FOUR rules.
“PR is a mix of journalism,
psychology, and lawyering - it’s an ever-changing and always interesting landscape.”
Ronn is the CEO of 5WPR and author of best selling PR book, For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations, and a regular contributor to Fox News, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Insights Wired, Everything-PR and more.