What makes a tweet go bad?

It's desperate times for news organizations as they chase clicks like penny press street hawkers of yesteryear. But how to balance reputation for credible news with being a source of entertainment?


  1. The current holy grail is a viral tweet or Facebook post. And how do you shape that masterpiece? On Quora recently, Upworthy's editor at large, Adam Mordecai, shared their secrets. Number 1: "Tell a story in your headline, but don't give it all away." He credits that strategy with their success but concedes that "some people really hate it."
  2. On Monday, the Washington Post raised more than eyebrows with this tweet, which personifies rule 1 absent of thought:
  3. Rape fantasy from one of the nation's leading political newspapers?
  4. That mid-morning promotion differed wildly from the reporter's own early morning promotion:
  5. And it isn't as compelling as this tweet from a reader sharing the story with his own twist:
  6. (Even) a BuzzFeed community editor thought the tweet went too far:

  7. The tone of the tweet overshadowed the heart of the story, which the co-editor of Mother Jones captured in her tweet.
  8. A tone which TheDailyBeast captured three weeks ago:
  9. This tweet soundly violated Mordecai's third rule: "make sure everyone can feel comfortable sharing it."
  10. It pissed people off. That's pretty much the opposite of "engaging." (I live far afield from the "all ink is good ink" camp.)
  11. Rape is not something people usually feel comfortable talking about. Or sharing stories about. And the reporter carefully avoids calling any of the abuse rape.
  12. But as TheDailyBeast pointed out in early November, it is not possible for 20-something adults to have consensual sex with an 8th or 9th grader. Especially when the power balance is so far off. And so TheDailyBeast called it rape. But the Post? It called this forced intimacy "having sex."