During a recent episode of Game of Thrones, set in a mythical world that resembles the Middle Ages, viewers thought they saw something that didn’t belong: a Starbucks cup.
The gaffe went viral. One analytics service counted 10,000-plus mentions of “Starbucks” and “Game of Thrones” on television and radio alone. By one estimate, Starbucks got $2.3 billion in free advertising.
There’s only one problem: It wasn’t a Starbucks cup.
There are a host of lessons we can take from this whole episode, but I’ll settle for just this one. We are often too quick, especially in the age of social media, to rush to judgment before we actually know what happened.
No one was hurt by this particular rush to judgment. In fact, Starbucks was greatly helped. But that’s not always the case. Think of the Covington Catholic kids who received death threats after another misinformed viral rush to judgment.
As James tells us, we should be quick to listen and slow to speak—or tweet.