140 Characters You Wish You Could Take Back


Twitter is a great social media app for many reasons. It can connect anyone to the Twitter universe within a matter of seconds. Twitter gives people the opportunity to see what friends, acquaintances and their favorite celebs are up to. Although Twitter can be great for these things, it is very important to watch what you tweet. As we discussed in my Comms 295 class this week, one tweet can damage a person’s reputation for a very, very, long time, if not forever.

Justine Sacco, who worked as a director of communications of a company, was traveling to South Africa when she decided to tweet the following:

“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding, I’m white!” (via @JustineSacco twitter account.)


She did not believe the tweet was that big of a deal, considering she did not have that many followers, and her tweets usually did not draw much attention. When she got off of her flight though, she realized that her tweet had caused major turmoil. Her tweet was the number one trending tweet on twitter, and she was receiving all sorts of negative messages from people that she did not even know. The tweet even caused her to lose her job, and made it extremely hard for her to get other jobs after the incident. Still to this day, she does not reveal where she works because she does not want to continue to be ridiculed about a tweet she sent almost three years ago.

Many people today do not think before they send out tweets, post on Instagram, or comment on others posts. If a person does send a tweet or make a post and decide that they should delete it because it is not appropriate, they obviously are not aware that the web is written in permanent ink. No matter if a post is deleted, it is still there somewhere on the web, or in the hands of someone else. One thing that I learned in my Comms 295 class this week is that when we are on the web, we should act the way that we would if we were attending a dinner party. If something would not be appropriate to do or say at a dinner party, it should not be said or done on the web. If class this week and the story about Justine Sacco taught me anything about the web, it is to seriously watch what you post, because 14o characters (or even less in Sacco’s case) can literally lead to lifelong regret and humiliation.




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