Celebs are now using an app to apologise for their public faux pas
To be famous in 2019 one must possess (in addition to talent, or at least popularity) a patina of authenticity and a willingness to admit wrongdoing. Also: an iPhone.
Lady Gaga makes for a perfect case study. On Thursday, she sent an apologetic message to her over 77 million Twitter followers. The singer wanted to let her Little Monsters know that, after renewed criticism of R. Kelly, she had decided to pull a track she had recorded with him in 2013 from streaming music services. “I’m sorry,” she wrote, her words cast against a grayish faux-paper background familiar to Apple users and celebrity news consumers, “both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner. I love you.”
Her statement was written using Notes, a free app that is preloaded onto Apple devices for the purpose of storing personal memories and to-do lists. In recent years, though, it has become the medium of choice for celebrity mass communication.
The reasons for writing these Notes notes vary, but often they are mea culpas for public errors. Armie Hammer apologised with aNotes app note for criticising his peers for posting grief selfies after Stan Lee’s death. Kendall Jenner apologised for her clothing line’s insensitive use of the Notorious BIG’s and Tupac Shakur’s likenesses. Ariana Grande apologised for licking a doughnut.
Part of the medium’s appeal is the ease with which its contents may be shared. Notes app apologies are screenshotted and dispersed, first on Twitter and In- stagram, and then in entertainment news reporting. They are embedded into tabloid websites and quoted by magazines, as polished statements coming directly from publicists might be.
Sometimes statements include grammatical and spelling errors, or profanity, which function (perhaps unwittingly) as rhetorical devices, making the authors seem not only unpretentious but fallibly human.
The best Notes app statements follow the same guiding principles of any good apology: get in and get out; be direct; don’t try too hard to defend yourself; and (this is a bonus!) maybe say what you’re doing moving forward.
The brevity of social media pushes most people toward a short and sweet statement. But when 280 characters doesn’t quite cut it, Notes app, or whatever text keeper Androids come with, does the trick.
A Notes app apology has its pitfalls. If fans suspect an apology isn’t as heartfelt or genuine, the entire thing could backfire. But worse is a completely unapologetic apology.
Lady Gaga used Notes to apologise to her 77 million Twitter followers