Misguided Praxis: Twitter’s Response to Justine Sacco’s infamous tweet

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Authors
Thyssen, Abigail
Advisor
Hansen, Alan
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Date of Issue
2022
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Title
Misguided Praxis: Twitter’s Response to Justine Sacco’s infamous tweet
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Presentation
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Abstract
In 2013, then Senior Director of Corporate Communications at InterActive Corporation (IAC) Justine Sacco said to the 170 people following her on Twitter, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” This tweet, posted just prior to Sacco boarding her 11-hour flight from London to South Africa to see her father, was trending worldwide and accumulating a great amount of negative attention just six hours later. In this paper, I conduct a critical analysis of this case by taking up the notion of “praxis” – analysis of experience to facilitate reflection and foment change. Not only can we engage in praxis by reflecting on the case of Sacco’s tweet and the firestorm that followed, but we also see how it is that social media users themselves appear to attempt to engage in a kind of praxis, but do so in misguided and ultimately dangerous ways.
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Communication Studies