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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.

Timing.

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.

 

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.