WTVM Editorial 6/5/18: Tweet and consequences

(WTVM) - It was the racist tweet heard 'round the world.

Roseanne Barr apparently couldn't see or didn't care about the firestorm that would result from her bigoted tweet targeting an African-American former advisor to President Obama.

ABC canceled Roseanne's very successful sitcom re-boot because of the tweet, which proves once again that tweets, posts, comments and all interactions online and on social media have very real consequences.

For starters, Roseanne blew up her successful new sitcom and with it, blew up the careers of her show's entire cast: writers, actors, the production crew who worked on her show, the make-up artists and wardrobe designers – everyone and anyone who depended on the continued production of that show for their livelihood.

It was all taken away with one ignorant and biased tweet.

And yes, it will also negatively affect all the ABC-affiliated stations around the country, like WTVM.

Because any replacement program is not as likely to be quite as popular with advertisers or get the stellar ratings Roseanne did.

But ABC was completely correct in canceling her show. They could not do anything else.

Yes, there is freedom of speech - which is really the freedom from government limiting or inhibiting our speech. Freedom of speech in the business world is quite different and has real consequences, often severe consequences.

Despite the ability to delete a nasty, racist tweet, it really never goes away. Roseanne apologized for what she called a "bad joke." The lesson everyone can learn from her stunningly bad judgment is that it's never clever or smart to share questionable material your followers might not see as being as humorous as you do.

If you aren't sure about a post, ask someone else how they might perceive it. Just because there is a social media audience out there does not mean it cares about your random thoughts and opinions.

When in doubt, do NOT hit the send button.

Intelligent factual observations or posts involving helpful information, or sharing a new or uplifting story or picture is what makes for smart and memorable social media interaction.

Social media can be a wonderful personal platform with friends and family and it can also be an effective business marketing tool.

But every time you're tempted to share an opinion, or what you think is a clever comment, remember the lesson from Roseanne's fall from grace: if social media is done badly or thoughtlessly, it will end your career.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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