How social media has an unnerving power to define you, in minutes
This week, double Olympic champion Mo Farah won the New Orleans half-marathon. He also inadvertently secured himself a world-wide reputation as ‘all-round great guy’ after an interview with an ill-informed journalist went viral. It’s a reputation that will no doubt pay dividends in terms of future sponsorship deals.
WSDU broadcast journalist LaTonya Norton congratulated the sporting superstar – whose iconic celebratory ‘mobot’ pose has been imitated by 100m sprint champion Usain Bolt – and then asked “Haven’t you run before? This isn’t your first time?” .
The Olympic hero acted with decency at being mistaken for an amateur runner. A look of only brief confusion then “it’s not my first time doing the half-marathon…no…but it’s my first time in New Orleans.”
Social media – reputation maker or breaker
In fact, Farah responded with such grace that Norton would have got away with the gaffe had the full force of social media not got hold of it. A few hundred thousand shares later and the press are on the case too. No room for mistakes in this big brother world.
As Norton – who has previously received an Associated Press Award for outstanding Public Affairs Reporting – and WSDU news watched their reputation being shredded in the twitter machine, Farah used the channel to further assert himself as a hero with an admirable attitude.
Mo Farah @Mo_Farah tweeted “Just wanna say to everyone being nasty to LaTonya Norton please stop!! She made a mistake like we all do!! She didn’t mean anything by it!”