Twitter Apologies: Influencing Perspective & Intentionality

As hinted prior, apology is a vital virtue that continues to draw substantial interests from individuals, fields, and corporate organizations. It refers to a regretful acknowledgement of an offence or failure.

Particularly, Twitter is a distinct social media platform that is verily strategic for issuing apologies. Alquist (2015) opines that twitter is unique in the sense that it enables users to tag along recipients while issuing complaints or compliments. Moreover, it also enables the use of hashtags which goes along in categorizing tweets hence enabling them show more easily in searches.

Thus, it is a no brainer that Charlie proceeded to issue his apology, following a conflict with the mall authorities for flaunting the mall’s directive on Covid-19 containment measures, through twitter. In the apology, her partook to describe the incident ostensibly to show or indicate apology. This, in essence, forms the basis for the on-going study on apology – how it influences perspectives as far as intentionality is concerned. Intentionality, as defined by Malle and Knobe (1997), refers to the power of minds and mental states to be about, to represent, or to stand for, things, properties and states of affairs. As such, is the aspect becomes necessary to understanding purpose as well as importance of relationships and, in this context, apologies.

Essentially, a though is considered to be intentional if it is of the nature of the thought to be directed toward or about objects. Intentional content of thought implies the mode or way in which a thought is concerning an object or an act. Drawing from Charlie’s statement, it is not readily clear whether he acknowledged that his behavior was wrong, whether his apology was sincere, or pledged to refrain from the conduct, inter alia. As such, he the underlying intention of the Charlie’s statement is blurred, as confirmed through a 6-point Likert scale based on the perspectives of the diverse recipients on Charlie’s twitter communique. The analysis necessarily indicates certain demographical characteristics about the participants encompassing the aspect of gender, age, race, and ethnicity, among others.

Be that as it may, intentionality merits as a function of age and gender. In other words, it is reasonably apprehensible that Charlie’s intention stands to be comprehended in different ways across different cadres of participants. As provided by Zechmesiter and Romero (2002), intentionality defines the desires, beliefs, awareness, and abilities to undertake a particular action. By deduction, thus, an act is considered intentional if the actor sets out to perform the action and succeeds. Basing on Charlie’s case narration, along with the defining parameters of the aspect of intentionality, as provided thereof, it is presumable that Charlie’s transgression was considerably intentional. Intentional transgressions, as explained by Gilbert et al. (2015), indicate that the harm suffered by the victim was due to the perpetrator. As such, they are more likely to invoke more feelings of injustice and anger vis-à-vis unintentional transgressions for the victims.

For perpetrators, the intentionality of a transgression relates to guilt (Malle & Knobe, 1997). Integrating the intentionality of Charlie’s – perpetrator’s – outburst along in the metrics of age and gender, therefore, predisposes certain results thanks the contrastive underlying emotional bearings of the genders and across the ages. For instance, the females, basing on Ruiselová, Prokopčáková, and Kresánek (2007) analysis, are more likely to regard Charlie’s apology as insincere and unintentional while the males are generally inclined to be more sympathetic and consequently regard the apology to sincere and intentional. As hinted earlier, the intentionality of transgressions is also subject to the aspect of age. The young participants are likely to regard Charlie’s apology as insincere and unintentional, whereas the old, basing on the provisions of Gilbert et al. (2015), are predisposed to view Charlie’s apology as sincere and intentional. Thus, the aspect of intentionality, as captured through apologies, offers a fundamental variable in the study that is poised to impact the participants’ decisions as discussed herein.

Alquist, J. L., Ainsworth, S. E., Baumeister, R. F., Daly, M., & Stillman, T. F. (2015). The making of might-have-beens: Effects of free will belief on counterfactual thinking. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(2), 268-283. doi: 10.1177/0146167214563673
Malle, B. F., & Knobe, J. (1997). The Folk Concept of Intentionality. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 33(2), 101-121. doi:10.1006/jesp.1996.1314
Ruiselová, Z., Prokopčáková, A., & Kresánek, J. (2007). Counterfactual thinking in relation to the personality of women–doctors and nurses. Studia Psychologica, 49(4), 333-339.
Gilbert, E. A., Tenney, E. R., Holland, C. R., & Spellman, B. A. (2015). Counterfactuals, control, and causation: Why knowledgeable people get blamed more. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(5), 643-658. doi: 10.1177/0146167215572137.
Zechmeister, J. S., & Romero, C. (2002). Victim and offender accounts of interpersonal conflict: Autobiographical narratives of forgiveness and unforgiveness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82(4), 675-686. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.82.4.675