September 14, 2009
Kanye outburst spotlights ‘Speak first, apologize later’ culture
In a Tweet to Kanye West about his outburst during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards, singer Katy Perry said, “It’s like you stepped on a kitten.”
Society seems to be shifting to a “Speak first (or Tweet first), apologize later” pattern, with little regard for who or what gets trampled in the process. The pressure to communicate in the moment—posting opinions to Facebook, FourSquaring our locations, etc.—means there’s little time to consider the implications. But a misstep can mean instant infamy. The VMA audience hardly had time to process the incident before they were animatedly booing every mention of Kanye’s name.
As more brands jump into the “Now Web” space—something that’s increasingly imperative—they will need to master the art of in-the-moment communication that also hits all the right notes. And also understand that sometimes it’s best to say nothing at all. It’s certainly a lesson that Kanye has learned.