November 28, 2022


By: TJ McCourt

In the word we live in today, everyone and anything is searchable. With the simple Google search bar you can find almost any information about a person or an organization. There are many pros and cons to this kind of accessibility. Watching what you post on your social media outlets is crucial and should not be looked past.

In class we discussed the importance of watching what you post by examining how one uncalled for and slightly racist tweet basically ruined Justine Sacco’s life- a mistake that cost her career. Sacco was taking a trip to Africa when she thought it would be funny to tweet “Going to Africa! Hope I don’t get AIDs. Just kidding. I’m White!” This tweet caused so much backlash before Sacco even landed from her flight that the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet has began trending and people were not happy with her, especially her boss.

Another example that I am thinking of is Roseanne Barr’s controversial tweet in May of 2018. Although this isn’t the first controversial posting Roseanne has published, this tweet ultimately was the final factor in ending her role in her nine year sitcom series, Roseanne. Barr, who is a known Republican and Trump supporter, tweeted “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby = VJ.” Barr is referring to Valerie Jarrett, an African American and senior advisor to Barrack Obama.


Eventually, Barr apologized for her insensative tweet, but it was too late. Barr’s ABC show Roseanne had just recently been rebooted and was quickly cancelled after her controversial tweet. This leads back to search ability. Although the tweets were deleted and an apology was stated, what you say on social media outlets can stick with you for the rest of your life and make a big impression on people whether the actions are good or bad.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in a statement.

“I horribly regret it. Are you kidding? I lost everything, and I regretted it before I lost everything.” Barr says.

Some people argue that it was harsh to remove Barr from Roseanne, especially considering that she is the main character in the show and she should have the right to voice her opinion freely. While others believe she has to be punished for her careless words. What are your thoughts? Should these kind of actions have consequences? Will you think a little bit harder about what you post on social media?

Twitter: @tjmccourtt

Linkedin: TJ McCourt

5 thoughts on “Search-ability

  1. Hi TJ,

    I really think the internet, especially social media, gives a permanent visual aid for the kinds of things people have always said. People like Rosanne have always made poor choices in terms of careless words, however now those words are transcribable and traceable on a permanent platform. This fact alone should absolutely encourage people to watch what they say considering everyone else is doing just that. I know I’m certainly much more careful with my online voice. Not only can what I say online be found at any point, it can also be misinterpreted. An online voice lacks the interaction that in-person conversations have, leaving tone and intended meaning up for debate. For this reason I try to be as transparent and as clear as possible with my online voice.

  2. Hi TJ,

    I really enjoyed reading your post as I believe this is such a common issue now a days as well. Some may perceive social media as a place to air their thoughts and opinions, but often forget that someone is always watching them. It is crazy that some tweets or instagram post become so popular after something unethical is noticed. Unfortunately for Justine Sacco and Roseanne Barr the public was quick to inform them that their thoughts on their personal twitter accounts were being made even more public than originally intended; and they suffered the consequences in the publics eye. I think everyone can learn a few valuable lessons from these two posts. For example, try to stay away from posting anything political, be 100% transparent when posting, and remember that you are always searchable. It is arguable that the public is too harsh on individuals that express their opinions on social media, but these individuals must remember that their posts reflect who they are as a person.

  3. Social media has become the popular medium for individuals to air their thoughts and feelings about certain subject matters. Although many of us enjoy getting the perspective of our favorite celebrities and athletes on particular issues, everyone from Rosanne Barr to Justine Sacco must recognize the impact their words have and the backlash that may follow. What may seem funny or witty for a particular audience at a particular time, may not receive the same reaction from the general public. The internet mafia will do everything it can to discredit your character and dig up past posts that could create controversy. Individuals both young and old, famous or not, must recognize that once their post becomes public it will FOREVER exist on the internet and could be used against them at any point in their life. In general, we are all responsible for the actions we take and the words we say, and everyone needs to be aware of the impact that their social media footprint may have on their past, present and future.

  4. Hi TJ,

    We have all heard in school the importance of being careful of what we put out online. Especially in high school, I always didn’t pay much attention to the things my teachers were saying about it. I have realized now how important your digital brand is. When you hear of examples of celebrities and pro athletes being called out for the things they say, it makes you take a step back and remember the importance of carefully choosing the content you share with the world. I have a question for you now. Do you think people should be held responsible for the things they put on social media during their high school years? In my opinion, I think this varies depending on how much time has passed since going to high school. Times do change and society’s views shift. I do hold adults more accountable for their actions like Justine and Rosanne who knew better when posting. But what about the pro athlete who posted the rude comment when he was 15? These are all things to consider when it comes to accountability.

  5. I definitely think her comment was not only slightly racist but very racist! You are right it was very uncalled for. This scenario is a great example of the consequences one can take for comments on a public platform. I think there are some positives to this, obviously Barr has shared some thoughts publicly that she has to be held accountable for. And the fact that she was called out and even fired proves that. There is a sort of justice for these bad people thanks to social media.

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