Saying sorry–Authentically


I read a humbling post from Ashton Kutcher today.  Ashton has a huge following on Twitter  – over 8 million followers.  All his tweets are his own whereas most other celebrities tend to use use agencies or assistance to tweet on their behalf.  Ashton Tweets fairly often.  Nothing earth shattering, just conversational tweets telling his fans about his day.  But..

The other day he made a mistake.

He saw a snippet of news that Joe Paterno the football coach had been fired from his job at Penn state.  Based on this information alone, Ashton sent out a tweet defending Joes career.  What Ashton didn’t know is that Joe had been fired from his job over allegations of child abuse by his one time assistant Jerry Sandusky.  By the time he got the rest of the story and went back to Twitter to delete the original post he saw comments from lots of his Twitter followers calling him an idiot – and worse.

So he apologised – on Twitter and later in a blog post explaining how he came to make the error.

Top marks to my Kutcher for apologising fully and freely and having the humility to explain himself.  In his post he says:

A collection of over 8 million followers is not to be taken for granted. I feel responsible to deliver informed opinions and not spread gossip or rumors through my twitter feed.

So many folks are quick to retweet and spread information based on scanty information, or mis-information.  The Tweet about the shooting of President Obama rippled out far and wide before it was realised that the site had been hacked and the tweet was fake.  As soon as he discovered his error, he retracted the tweet and apologised fully and freely.

He was honest about his mistake and authentic in his efforts to put it right. He didn’t hide from his mistake and upfront.

He was authentic..

There is so much information, impersonation,  glitz and PR in the heady world of the celebrity Tweeter that it’s good to see authenticity in a Twitter stream.  Stephen Fry manages to maintain his integrity with his followers through Twitter and his blog.  Other US celebrities have teams of assistants and admins to help them run their PR, presence and to keep the conversation flowing.  Ashton says he’s going to turn over day to day management of his feed to his team – but I hope it doesn’t mask his true voice.

Keeping it real matters

Keeping it Authentic matters.

If you’re authentic, you will get authentic interactions with real people, fans, customers and partners. and interacting with integrity and authenticity will bring you real relationships and lead to authentic sales.

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.