Using Internet Stupidity to Make a Difference
December 24, 2013
December 24, 2013
On Friday, Justine Sacco tweeted what she considered a “joke” before boarding a flight from England to South Africa. By the time she landed, her tweet had gone viral and her company made a statement distancing themselves from Sacco.
As a PR executive, it’s unfathomable that Sacco was ignorant to the consequences of her online activities. That lack of foresight is as much to blame for her departure as the infamous Tweet.
Incidents like Sacco’s aren’t exactly unique. In fact, the entire situation is one we’ve seen many times this past year: The foolish post or tweet that goes viral, the outrage, and a Company trying to capitalize on the controversy (and the subsequent apology). It was all going according to script for the Internet.
Then, something different happened.
Someone stumbled upon www.justinesacco.com and noticed that the web domain had been purchased to redirect people to the Aid for Africa page. This was remarkably refreshing.
It’s incredibly easy to sit online and mock Sacco’s stupidity and insensitivity, but that doesn’t really achieve anything. That type of reaction makes these situations a case of “lather, rinse, repeat” without any progress made.
Trying to make something positive out of it all, on the other hand, is incredibly smart. The lifespan of these stories is incredibly small due to the sheer frequency at which they occur. Some Good Samaritan out there opted to capitalize on Sacco’s 15 minutes of fame to do good.
Talk about keeping with the spirit of the holiday season.
The Internet is unfortunately full of comments like Justine Sacco’s. Only a small percentage will go viral, but when they do, it’s a tremendous opportunity for relevant organizations to get the word out to educate the public. There’s been no word on whether the tie-in had any substantial contribution, but that’s secondary to the fact that it got a lot of eyeballs on that site.
The next time this happens, I hope that some organization takes that anonymous person’s lead and uses the situation to make a difference.