New White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci recently dispatched a tweet that was heard all around Washington. (He later deleted it, so all I have is a screenshot.)
Leave aside the content and the author’s inability to punctuate. What I want to focus on is the last word — “@Reince45” — which is the handle of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
The problem here is that Scaramucci lazily dumps Priebus’s handle in at the end of the tweet. As a result, it’s totally unclear why he’s mentioning his colleague. Is he blaming Priebus? Is he asking hm to investigate? Or is he merely CCing him?
We can only guess — which is indeed what every news outlet that covered the tweet was left to do.
By contrast, had Scaramucci integrated “@Priebus45” into his sentence, there’d be no ambiguity. For example, if he wanted to intimidate Priebus, he could have written this:
“In light of the leak of my financial-disclosure info—a felony—I’ll be contacting @FBI and @TheJusticeDept. Got that, @Reince45? #swamp”
Or, if he wanted Priebus to join the investigation, he could have written this:
“In light of the felonious leak of my financial-disclosure info, I’ll be contacting @FBI & @TheJusticeDept. Let’s drain the #swamp, @Reince45!”
See how @FBI, @TheJusticeDept, and @Reince45 are all part and parcel of the sentence? They’re not outliers; they’re participants.
Think about this the next time you tweet. Don’t just drop in handles as an afterthought; integrate them into the flow of your message.
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