Earlier this week I messed up on Twitter and I wanted to set the record straight in long form because it’s clear that a tweet ain’t gonna cut it.
I’m one of a team of people working on a project to try to clear up inaccurate information around the rapid transit proposal here in London. I’m handling the Twitter account which mostly entails retweeting things from Londoners and trying to clear up misinformation where possible.
Early Thursday morning I received a list of businesses who had signed a petition expressing concerns over the BRT project. I published this list on Twitter via a Google Doc and later shared the actual document that I had received (I had to await permission to share it). I published this tweet on my personal Twitter account (which I continue to stand behind):
— Shawn Adamsson (@late2game) March 16, 2017
Why? A group opposing the Shift proposal has been spreading inaccuracies about the project to galvanize businesses against the proposal and I think that those same businesses should be made aware of how many people use public transit and would benefit from this service improvement. Taping a note to a business seems like a pretty simple way to do that, it could show the number of people impacted by the project and no damage is done.
After thinking a while I also thought it might also be appropriate to encourage people to ask those businesses why they were supporting the petition. After all these folks put their name on the public petition and asking them why they support something is perfectly reasonable. But I’m not the only one working on this project and I wanted to be sensitive to the opinions of my teammates so I composed a tweet with the intent of saving it in draft form (a feature of my Twitter client) while I awaited feedback. I frequently use these drafts as a Twitter to-do list. What ended up happening unfortunately was that I mistakenly hit “publish” instead of “save”. Here’s a copy of the tweet that someone kindly screen-capped.
After a few minutes I got a notification of a response to the tweet and that’s when I realized my mistake. I deleted the tweet immediately.
Do I regret the content of the tweet? Absolutely not. Questioning people and businesses who take a public stand on topics of importance to an entire city is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. I’m prepared to defend opinions that are important to me and so should others who take a stand in the public realm.
Do I regret tweeting it without properly running it by the team? Definitely.
Should I have deleted the tweet? In hindsight, I gave people the impression that I was trying to hide something or that I regretted the content and that’s not the case at all.
My apologies to the members of the Shift Happens team.