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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Went Kind of Racist on Us Today

Cue the green slime—it’s time for another episode of You Can’t Do That on Twitter. Here’s the tweet that’s been burning up the Internet this morning:

ajctweet-hed-2013

Yes, that’s pretty bad. And the fact that it’s an obscure joke (William Lynch was a fictitious slaveowner who supposedly made a famous speech about better “managing” slaves by turning them against each other) almost makes it worse. The AJC quickly took it down and issued an apology—and we assume someone is going to be out of a job by the end of the day.

It’s kind of a shame that slip-ups like this one get so much attention. On the other hand, it was a shocking failure of social media management that will rightfully end up in many future “worst of” listicles.

From a strategic perspective, it’s one thing to be loose and “conversational” and lightly funny on Twitter. It’s quite another thing to make a joke that any manager with half a brain would immediately shoot down. The key is finding a midpoint between dry and snarky that’s as far away from this sort of comment as possible.

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