In the news recently has been the canceling of Roseanne Barr’s sitcom revival. New episodes of the classic 90’s TV show drew millions of viewers, attracted because of the nostalgia appeal. The show struck a chord in the 90’s, perhaps because the depiction of a blue-collar family in the American midwest struggling to get by was so relatable. But the new version of the show, which had been picked up for a second season, was torpedoed by Roseanne herself after she sent out a racially insensitive tweet about former Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett. We’re not here to talk about whether or not Roseanne deserved to lose her show. What we’re here to talk about is the power of Twitter, a platform that can be helpful for advertising, but also poison if misused.
Social Media in the Modern World
Thirty years ago, if a celebrity did something or said something offensive, you might have heard about it on the radio, or on TV, or possibly read about it in a newspaper or magazine. But this is the information age, when celebrity scandals, not to mention more important things going on the world, become known almost instantaneously. There’s a plethora of ways for people to get their news, at times whether they want to or not. Even those who weren’t aware that Roseanne’s show had been revived found out about the offensive tweet and the aftermath because it was shoved in their faces the moment they got online. There is a lesson to be taken from what happened if you’re using a Twitter account to promote your business, and it is this: be very, very careful what you say these days.
Twitter giveth, and it taketh away. If you hire an SEO company, they’re probably going to want your company to establish an active Twitter account if you don’t have one already, not to mention Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and others. For optimization and advertising purposes, such platforms are more than useful these days: they’re practically essential. But you need to remember that if you try to joke about things or make throwaway lines about people or current events, there are those out there who are only waiting to be offended.
You might want your company to appear engaged in current events, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s smart to have a focus group to vet your tweets if you’re going in that direction. Saying the wrong thing will make your company and its perceived viewpoints go viral for all the wrong reasons. Before you send that tweet, think about it long and hard. If there’s even the smallest chance that what you said is going to be taken the wrong way, then come up with something safer. There will be real-world consequences if you don’t.