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Message Not Received: Why Business Communication Is Broken and How to Fix It by Phil Simon

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1Technology Is Eating the WorldThe Dizzying Nature of Today’s Existence

The future ain’t what it used to be.

—Yogi Berra

Let’s say that you’re curious about Twitter, and one day you decide to take the plunge. You compose 140 characters or fewer and tweet.

You wait—and then wait some more.

Nothing happens. No retweets (RTs). No modified tweets (MTs). Just crickets.

You start to wonder if you have used Twitter correctly. Aren’t tweets supposed to start conversations? Isn’t that what social media expertsa promise?

Don’t worry. It’s not your fault. The majority of tweets are ignored. Some estimates put that number at greater than 70 percent,b and I would suspect that that number is much higher for first-time users who are not named Tim Cook.c On the other end of the spectrum, some are heard around the world. Let me tell you about one of them.

Whoops

Up until December 20, 2013, relatively few people had heard of a 30-something PR exec named Justine Sacco. That all changed at 10:19 a.m. on that now-infamous Friday morning. The senior director of corporate communications for Internet conglomerate InterActive Corp (IAC) boarded an 11-hour flight from London to Cape Town, South Africa. Right before takeoff, Sacco thought it either wise, funny, or both to tweet the following (see Figure 1.1):

images

Figure 1.1 Justine Sacco’s Infamous Tweet

Source: Twitter, December 20, 2013

Almost immediately ...

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