My Mistake.


This is a personal post, not representing the company I work for, Secret.

Last night, after reading a headline that made my head spin, “Secret founder doesn’t care if teenagers kill themselves, as long as they don’t cause a PR headache,” I wrote a reactionary tweet without stopping to think about how it would be received. The company I represent and the CEO I work for were falsely accused of something very grave. Something that I care deeply about and take seriously.

First, let me say, I regret the words I chose in my tweet. And I am sorry I wrote them.

They have caused a long stream of reactions and projections, and in some of the cases, I understand why. They appear, when connected to the broader story they belong to, to be careless and flippant. But they don’t communicate my real intention — and what I should have done — to contact the writer and say, I wish you would have contacted us before writing these false accusations, so we could discuss our guidelines, enforcement and what we do to protect our community every day.

You’d think a marketing professional with nearly 15 years of experience of political campaigns, crisis communications and startup failures would know better. Most days, you’d be right. Yesterday was not one of those days.

My work deals with some of the more controversial and emotional aspects of our culture. To say I care about the safety of the communities I’ve worked for would be an understatement. Prior to Secret, I consulted for several years after a very intense and difficult year-and-a-half working with Formspring, one of the earlier anonymous communities. The experience and lessons I took from my time with Formspring are all ones I’ve been applying to Secret.

Some have asked me why I’ve joined Secret after this experience. There are two reasons: One, because I believe in anonymous self expression and that we as a culture can discover pathways to keep it productive. There are funny, sweet and poignant examples here that our community shares every single day. Two, because I spent over four months getting to know the Secret founders as an advisor/consultant before deciding to join them full time. I joined because I believe in what they’re building and how they’re building it.

In closing, I decided to write this post for two reasons, one to say, I made a mistake. Two to say, if any of you have questions for me about this memorable moment or my personal response to the accusations shared today on Twitter, I am happy to hear from you directly.

You can contact me at writesarahjane@gmail.com.