Have you heard of Justine Sacco?
If you’re on social media, it was hard to avoid over the weekend. She was the public relations professional who posted an offensive tweet on Friday before boarding a plane to South Africa.
Never mind that she had only 200 or so followers when she made the tweet. By the time she got off the plane, a firestorm had erupted on Twitter that was arguably unlike anything that we’ve seen in some time.
Boing Boing has a detailed account here, but in case you missed the story, here’s the basic outline:
As she embarked upon a long flight to Africa, PR staffer Justine Sacco issued this tweet. At best a darkly ironic self-deprecation that could never fit into 140 characters, it resulted, within bare minutes, in an internet-wide scandal. Even as the plane is still in the air–Sacco presumably oblivious–there [was] a hashtag, #HasJustineLandedYet, a parody account, @LOLJustineSacco, a fake movie poster, and, God help her, a whole entire New York Times article, replete with a stunned disavowal from her corporate employers.
The meme was incredible and fueled by the fact that she was on a long flight — with no internet. By Saturday, Sacco was fired.