Written By: Channelle Labelle-Viens
Let’s take a moment to quickly review the idea of a public relations (PR) expert. Public relations experts communicate with the public on behalf of companies or organizations, their duties are to prepare press releases, keep contact with organizations and publics, represent employers, plan conventions, etc.
Now, a real PR expert knows that the choices a public figure makes can impact both their personal and professional reputation instantly. Once you enter the PR world, anything you say can and will be held against you in the court of social media and platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow the entire world to become the audience.
My PR tip for this article is: Always, ALWAYS, be aware of what you post on social media sites. Why? There may be career-ending consequences.
Meet the notorious Justine Sacco, a former employee of InterActiveCorp. She was fired for her insensitive twitter post about AIDS while on a flight to Africa.
Oops, she didn’t think that one through! What makes everything worse is the fact that Sacco was the IAC’s Public Relations Director. It was not at all professional but is exactly how you can lose your job in 10 seconds. Donald Trump has even expressed his feelings towards Sacco’s tweet:
Every second, more and more tweets are being generated with the hashtag, #HasJustineLandedYet. Yup, that’s right – this has become a worldwide trend. Even Google is filled with articles on Sacco, by simply typing ‘Justine’ into the Google search bar hundreds of results will appear.
While I’m still shaking my head at the foolish mistake of the PR director, Sacco has issued an apology:
“Words cannot express how sorry I am, and how necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of South Africa, who I have offended due to a needless and careless tweet. There is an AIDS crisis taking place in this country, that we read about in America, but do notlive with or face on a continuous basis. Unfortunately, it is terribly easy to be cavalier about an epidemic that one has never witnessed firsthand.”
Lets just face it, Justine Sacco has taught the people in public relations exactly what not to do. All jokes and sarcasm aside, her comment has offended many people. If you are in the eye of the public you should never put your company at risk, let alone make an entire continent shake with anger. This goes to show you how fast your reputation can change. If you are going to use platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, make sure you do so wisely – save yourself the trouble.