With the instant gratification that social media delivers to consumers, the buffer between brain and keyboard has become nonexistent. A recent example came Sept. 16 as the new Miss America was crowned. As soon as Miss New York was named the latest woman to hold the honor, Twitter exploded with vitriol over her Indian-American heritage. Numerous articles have covered the hateful Tweets that poured in as she was crowned.
- The ignorant backlash to Miss America, via The Baltimore Sun
- Miss America is Not White, and Everyone is Mad, via Vice
Even as the negativity poured in, many others weighed in to try and offset the pessimism with Tweets like:
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”- Eleanor Roosevelt. Always a good reminder in a world full of critics.@MissAmerica
— Miss Missouri 2013 (@MissMissouri13) September 22, 2013
Now, the Miss America Organization and Miss America Nina Davuluri have launched a social media campaign to promote diversity with the hashtag #CirclesOfUnity. The program is one that Davuluri has championed for years and she hopes that it will help break down barriers through the very channels that so often work so hard to build them.
Putting your reputation on the line
So what are the consequences for tweeting before thinking? The truth is that there aren’t any. Athletes and celebrities are routinely culprits in these digital offenses, but what motivates people to hide behind a Twitter handle and egg avatar? We may never have the individual answers, but the ease of creating fake accounts has allowed people to put out tweets and posts that they otherwise would not post. From a personal branding standpoint, people who put their name with these negative messages put their reputation on the line as the digital world is never really erased.
So next time you feel the need to jump in the middle of a controversial issue, take a step back and consider the repercussions that can impact your life for a lot longer than the 10 seconds it took you to craft that tweet. We all are responsible for creating and building our best selves and we always have to keep our personal brands in mind. The digital world we live in does not allow for cover ups and the “make-believe” world that Twitter and Facebook have become have real, lasting impacts.