So, if you Tweet and follow a #KOT (Kenyan on Twitter), there is a good chance that you’ve already heard about #primitiveenergy. I did my normal quick Twitter check this morning and a tweet by @rombo caught my eye.
I’ve been paying attention to “What an African Woman Thinks” (@rombo’s blog) for a few years. She has helped me to see the world through lenses that are not my own time and again. So, when she tweets, I also pay attention.
I’ve done a wee bit of poking about I found that the source of the hullabaloo (and “hullabaloo” is not really the right word because the noise is not really confused as far as I can see — but I love the way the word sounds) is an ad by Korean Airlines announcing it’s 3x-per-week non-stop service between Seoul and Nairobi which is scheduled to begin this week. While the ad has been pulled from Korean Air’s website, it is flying around the internet which is more like an elephant that never forgets when it comes to this stuff.
The responses on Twitter have ranged from a sort of amused shrug that seems to say “we’re used to this — tired of it, but used to it — and don’t expect better” to absolutely outrage. Much of the use of the hashtag #primitiveenergy has become a comedic poking of fun that does not deny that Korean Air messed up but that demonstrates that the #KOT community knows how to laugh at itself.
(If you are on Twitter and are thinking about using the hashtag to see these for yourself — and have minors looking over your shoulder — you should be aware that some of the humor is sexual and some of the anger is being expressed with words often used by people who are angry.)
Korean Airlines wrote an ad for its primary audience (Koreans who will purchase travel to Nairobi for vacations that include safari adventures) and didn’t consider their other customers. In that is a lesson for all who communicate in this era where every communication has the potential of being globally public.
There are, in fact, so many lessons to learn from this happening-right-now event. I pray that I won’t get so caught up in the finger-pointing fueled by some sort of self-righteousness that has me thinking that I would never say or so such a thing that I miss the opportunity to learn from this and extend grace along the way.