I have 625 followers on twitter. Justine Sacco had 170.
On a regular tweet I get anywhere from 0-10 favorites, and on a good day 3 retweets. I have nearly 3x more followers that Justine, and yet she is the one who became “internet famous”, but not necessarily in a good way.
It just goes to show you how social media starts as a spark but can travel like a raging wild fire. All it took was one poorly worded tweet, and an all around bad decision by Justine Sacco. She lost everything: her respect, her friends, her families trust, and her job.
Thats the thing about the internet, you hand over all your privacy. Justine claims that for her small audience, they would understand her sarcastic tone.. that was not the case. All it takes is one retweet, then your words are spread to an entirely new audience. As more and more people retweet it, its opened up to new audiences again and again. There is no escaping. Once you write something that ignites a flame like that, there is no stopping it.
People from everywhere would have never known about what she said if she didn’t make it public. All of the events following this tweet could have been avoided.
Everybody needs to take this into consideration when using social media, especially twitter. It is far to easy to offend now a days, and your audience is not just who you choose it to be. You must also be careful with what you wish to say, 140 characters does not leave all the room in the world for sly sarcasm.