Yesterday was the 58th anniversary of Rosa Park’s arrest for refusing to vacate a bus seat for a white man in Montgomery, Alabama. The official Republican Twitter account attempted to celebrate the day. It backfired. Badly.
Really? Racism is over? Well, woohoo!
Of course it’s not. Twitter users quickly mocked the GOP with a hilarious hashtag, #RacismEndedWhen:
In all fairness, I cannot imagine that there are many Republicans who truly believe that racism is over. Still, this is the latest example of a simple Social Media truth: what you say matters, and neither politicians nor their campaign machinery will get the benefit of the doubt. The mistake is doubly painful for the simple fact that the Republican Party has a well documented history of problems with minorities: 2012 exit polls showed that the GOP Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, was shellacked by Obama among African-Americans (93-6%) and Hispanics (69-29%), among other minority groups.
It took four hours, but the Republicans did issue a correction:
So the fix was made, but it took way to long; four hours is an eternity in national politics. It is probably safe to assume that the Republican Party has full-time staff dedicated towards managing their significant Social Media presence. As such, there is no excuse for the delay. This should not have taken four hours; this should have taken less than two, if that. The extended time frame gave this incident a chance to spread, with stories appearing in numerous national media outlets like the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and MSNBC, among others.
The moral: when it comes to Social Media, speed kills.