I have typed then paused, then erased only to type, pause and erase again.
When I read about what Justine Sacco, the IAC PR executive posted on her Twitter Account I couldn’t help but find myself in a state of mixed emotions.
In case you missed it, here was what she Tweeted
I was upset because what she wrote was so incredibly stupid.
I was sad because I know she is a human being and humans make mistakes and she was going to pay dearly for this one.
I was mortified watching the way the media and other humans treated her with such callousness.
Finally, I took pause on whether or not to write because I rarely “Newsjack” since so many others do it faster and frankly better than I can.
In the end it was like watching a movie unravel. It was a terrible, horrifying film that had no place in theaters but the media both paid and social felt this was theater that needed to be seen and then they made sure that it was.
A Bad Decision and A Career Destroyed In An Instant
The backlash against Justine was pretty unbelievable. I saw a level of hate, intimidation and cruelness that is usually reserved for only the most evil villains in our society.
See some of the responses in this article from Mashable
No question that her arrogance, silliness or carelessness when writing the tweet heard round the world deserved repercussion.
When you are a PR Executive you know that there is such as thing as bad PR. If you needed proof, this entire incident is a feast for educators everywhere.
It shows just how powerful Social Media can be and how one bad decision can lead us down a path of irreparable destruction.
Justine had spent years building her career to watch it fizzle in an instant.
Sadly I can’t argue with the decision. However, I do feel just the slightest bit of sympathy for her knowing that she may never again reach her professional goals and will likely be alienated by much of society for the foreseeable future.
But again, she did it to herself. As a media executive she punched the letters into her status on Twitter and the Social World took it from there.
However let me ask you a question…Have you ever said something you regret or shouldn’t have?
I imagine almost all of us have. Maybe not to the same magnitude or perhaps worse, nevertheless many of us at some point in our lives have said or done something that in the wrong audience could have made us a similar spectacle?
The Lesson We As Humans Need To Learn
I’m not here to play judge, jury and executioner. I don’t agree with what Justine Sacco did.
However, until I hit publish on this blog I didn’t weigh in whatsoever.
I didn’t laugh at her demise or send her Tweets to tell her what a horrible person she is nor did I defend her.
After a week of watching this women’s life implode I wanted to focus on a different lesson. Going to back the golden rule and the lessons we learned as kids like “Do Unto Others” and “Not Fighting Fire with Fire.”
As human beings and as leaders we must realize that pouring gasoline on the fire doesn’t make us better. To laugh at her failure or anyones failure is not a good use of our time nor does it make us better than anyone else.
From these mistakes that we witness we learn. We remind ourselves that our words are permanent and that the hurt they create may be unfixable. Therefore we must watch what we say and think before we act. Again, lessons we have been taught since we are young.
But to cast stones and rejoice in the failure of another human being is nearly as bad as the original indiscretion.
Remember this as you take your thoughts to the world. In the end we are all human. In the end we all painted judgment over Justine Sacco for her comments being inhumane.
However, we only become better when we fight with knowledge and show tolerance to those that make mistakes. Not because what they did is right, but because the type of backlash we often show in the digital arena is rarely one that promotes bettering mankind into the future.