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 Instagram, 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.
Zara Rahim, who handled publicity for Vogue before joining The Wing, a women’s co-working space, as its communications director, said that the efficacy of these statements lies not only in their speed but also their appearance. “I can just write this quick note on my Notes app, because it looks like I did it on my phone, have my publicist take a quick glance at it, if I’m smart,” she said, “and then post it directly on my Instagram.”
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. Their notes also frequently employ clichés of spoken apologies: “from the bottom of my heart,” “profoundly,” “I wish I knew then what I know now,” and so on. These tics foster the false sense of intimacy that most social media encourages.
Of course, the marks of a direct-from-the source apology may come across as simply impulsive or careless. “The worst Notes app apologies are the ones that clearly were being written stream of consciousness and didn’t get the edit, that were way, way, way too reactive to the point of where there are misspellings,” Allison P. Davis, a pop culture reporter for New York Magazine, said.