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December 3, 2014
Web Apologies May Not Matter
 
So you’ve said something on the Internet you think deserves an apology. Should you? Fortune blogger Brett Arends considers the hash Elizabeth Lauten, an unfortunately prompted GOP congressional staffer,  made when she sought to apologize for criticizing on Facebook the dress of the Obama girls and advises, probably not. The Web’s legions are unforgiving.

“Clearly, if you are in a completely untenable situation, you are going to have no choice but to apologize,” Arends writes. “But that is less often the case than we often suppose.”

Especially, rather than offering an apology as fulsome as the one Elizabeth Lauten came up with, hunker down, is Arends' advice.

Whether or not to apologize, and how, is, of course, a public relations decision. But like so much else these days, it’s complicated by the exigencies of digital discourse. Think it all through first. And watch your lunges on Facebook, or wherever, in the first place.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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