Back in the day, apologizing was something CEOs and other public figures were often loath to do. It suggested weakness and served as an admission of guilt. The prevalent thinking was, “What the public doesn’t know won’t hurt them.”
Social media was a game changer in all of that. Anybody—expert or not—can now voice an opinion on any social platform of their choosing. The collective impact can be devastating to a personal or organizational reputation.
To that end, the public is now regularly subjected to the grand mea culpa, often staged in the form of press conferences and accompanied by heartfelt phrases of apology. There are even sometimes a few tears for good measure. Witness NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s widely covered apology over Donald Sterling’s racist remarks or even Canadian politician Paul Calandra’s tearful response when accused of evading a reporter’s question.