Beloved Second City alum and Saturday Night Live writer was suspended “indefinitely” for tweeting about Donald Trump’s youngest son Barron last week.
January 20, 2017 Rich tweeted, “Barron will be this country’s first homeschool shooter.”
Her tweet sparked negative responses soon after. She deleted the tweet and deactivated her account. Later in the week she tweeted an apology on the platform. Rich is not the first comedian under fire for an insensitive post on social media. Still young PR professionals can learn from this incident.
Here are 5 things the Katie Rich debacle can teach us about personal branding.
- Know your audience- When you are building your brand you attract your audience by what you post. When you have built your brand you know your audience. Rich is a comedian. My guess is she probably attracts liberal individuals who enjoy social commentary. She probably thought her tweet would get an appropriate response or she was probably upset and tweeted whatever she felt like.
- Never post intoxicated- I do not mean under the influence of alcohol although you shouldn’t do that either. You want to be heard the most when you are intoxicated with emotion, but often those emotions cloud our judgment.
- Take the political climate into consideration- comedy has reached an age of rebranding itself with the time period that we live in. Comedians — everyone need to take sensitivities into consideration.
- The internet is forever- everyone should have this tattoo on their forehead or own a shirt with this phrase on it. Rich may have deleted her tweet and deactivated her Twitter but people still saw what she posted. Chances are someone took a screenshot of it. Not to mention there were several news articles written about the incident. This is now a google search.
- It’s okay to admit when you’re wrong- At the end of the day we are all human. We make mistakes but the worst thing we can do is try to justify our actions when we know we’re in the wrong. Rich did the right thing by formally apologizing on Twitter.
Ironically, I think Monica Lewinsky summed it up best when she said, “Comedy is an imperfect science.” I think that statement applies to personal branding as well.