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No privacy control can save you from bad judgement

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The unfortunate situation of Justine Sacco has been talked to death at this point. She isn’t the first or last person that will be fired over a bad tweet and there isn’t really anything profound to be said about the situation, other than in the social media age, good judgement is of unprecedented importance. While her account has been deleted since the tweet, signs of trouble were on the horizon with other questionable content on her timeline. 

 
It is extremely tempting to be clever, express disappointment or vent on social media, but so much can be misunderstood and the risk just isn’t worth the reward. Too many capable people let social media get in their way and it all comes down to exercising judgement. If it wasn’t social media, there could have been something else, because poor judgement finds its way to haunt you. Teaching someone to be “pc,” “vanilla,” or just very savvy on how not to offend seems to be a skill that is truly in demand in today’s world.
 
What happened to Justine Sacco is truly terrible, especially since she is a PR practitioner and presumably understand all the risks of not just social media but what a few questionable words can do to one’s career through any medium. Some articles defend her actions by saying she was meaning to point out the sheer ignorance about the topic, but, in 140 characters much can be misunderstood or left to question. Weather she tweeted a very racist or off putting joke, meant to point out ignorance, or whatever else she was trying to do, leaving your fate to one tweet that can be interpreted in so many different ways is never a good idea. 
 
When I mentor senior leaders on use of social media I often talk about authenticity and the importance of letting a piece of you be seen through interaction on social media, because otherwise what separates any of us from each other? When establishing your personal brand authenticity spirals its way to the top. While authenticity is so important, good judgment is even more so in this age and this was just one more reminder of that. While we will never know the true motivations of Justine Sacco, I would sit back before judging her or the situation and recognize that the trouble stems with judgement. 
 
As far as all the brands that jumped on the bashing bandwagon, glad they got what they deserved. I was never one to believe on getting anything good out of a truly terrible situation and I am very happy that those who tried to capitalize on this terrible example of social media got a taste of their own medicine. 
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One comment on “No privacy control can save you from bad judgement

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    December 23, 2013

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This entry was posted on December 23, 2013 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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