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Spelling Matters Even on Social, Just Ask Steve Harvey

Steve Harvey crowning the wrong beauty contestant Miss Universe has garnered millions of extra eyeballs as broadcast media continue to replay what was no doubt a horrifying moment for all of the contestants.

But it’s the attempt by Harvey afterwards to offer his condolences that should have thousands of trained communications specialists in a tailspin:

“I want to apologize emphatically to Miss Philippians and Miss Columbia. This was a terribly honest human mistake and I am so regretful.”

In his misspelling of both countries, Harvey has now managed to offend not only those recipients of the tweet and retweet but the millions of residents of the Philippines and Colombia who have heard about it as well.

As evidenced by Harvey, real-time communications can be a challenge. But even on social, proper spelling matters.

In this era of hurry up, beat-them-to-punch, instant gratification, much of the news you see is published so quickly that errors can and do happen. But the resulting impact of those errors and guffaws often sticks longer with (and is heard louder by) your audience than the original message.

So whether you’re composing your own posts and tweets or paying someone else to maintain your social presence, take the time to do it really well. Spell check, grammar check, fact check. You’ll be heard just as loudly even if you’re a little slower to the punch and the impact of delivering quality work will long be recognized as professionalism in the minds and memory of your target audience.

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