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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.


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 and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.