I’ve been dating or married to my wife for over ten years. I’ve been apologizing to her for over 12 years (we were friends before we started dating). She has told me that the one thing she always liked about me were my genuine apologies immediately after my screw ups. Gosh, I need to get back to doing that.
There are things we think about that should not be said. Lucky for us, people can’t hear our thoughts. The things we say that hurt people stay within those walls (unless there are cameras rolling) and only directly effects the people you’re speaking to… until they choose to tell their various networks. But with that, there’s always “he say, she say”. With Twitter and Facebook, the proof of your social blunder is public and burned into scathing little pixels on monitors and screens for millions to see and share.
The topic is social media accountability. We’re talking about resolving blunders on the social web with genuine apologies and remorse. Even a disingenuous apology will often get the job done. The “ignore the issue” method never works. The good ol’ “trying to change the subject” isn’t an option, there are public timelines. “Delete the tweet” NOPE! Not so sweet. People take screen shots before you press send. “Saying you meant something else” is no excuse and it simply makes you look worse. Owning up to your FAIL on the Internet as quickly is possible is the only remedy for making an offensive remark on a social network.
This brings me to the Roland Martin Twitter fiasco. Roland has come under fire for his tweets about men who liked the David Beckham commercial during the Super Bowl. He also made a comment about a person on the Patriots who was wearing a pink suit. Alluding to the person needing his “ass whipped”. This is comedy to some and offensive to others. In this world of instant media, you have to be fully conscious of how your words will be interpreted (especially on Twitter). Your statements are in the open and if you’re popular, there’s virtually no chance for you to take the words back.
If Roland Martin would’ve simply said “sorry” and owned up to his mistake quickly, he would be in much better shape. Instead, he tried to cover up his blunder by saying it was related to Beckham being a soccer player and that he cracks on soccer all the time. Side note, why is soccer always the heel? I actually like soccer. Anyway, this was the absolute worst move by Martin. It made him come off clueless to the negative potential of his comments.
If you’re a public figure in a certain space, you must be aware of the potential damage your words can cause to others and your personal brand. Roland simply lost sight of his communication format. He wasn’t in his man cave having a conversation with friends. He was on Twitter. Social distribution in 140 characters for all to see.
Roland Martin’s statements are probably comedic gold if they were blasted by Lil Duval or Charlamagne Tha God (to their fans at least). Duval and Charlamagne are known for being raw and not holding anything back. That’s their signature brand of engagement on Twitter. They aren’t on GLAAD’s radar. Roland operates in the news and political space, where comments that are perceived as insensitive are magnified. He simply should have known better and been more aware of his medium and reach. I guess this is another case of “when keeping it real goes wrong”. What say you?