In an update to my post on social media risk multipliers it seems that the "Casual" and "Open" nature of real time web interaction are the key multipliers that gets both individuals and organisations into trouble.
( Image: Chris Sharp / FreeDigitalPhotos.net )
Having reviewed a number of the high profile Twitter and Facebook mistakes it is clear that real time web 'slip ups' are not restricted to one sector of society. Private individuals, celebs, employees, businesses and even local councillors have all run into hot water using this transparent and casual communication medium.
As reported in the Guardian, Chris Evans recently had to apologise for retweeting a joke about poverty in Africa. Evans is quoted as saying he "had not read it properly" before retweeting. It is this split second decision to re-tweet with properly reading or thinking that caused Evans' embarrassment.
Think: how many times have you re-tweeted without looking at the link in the original tweet. What if it were pornographic?
On this topic, I can see link hijacking as a growing problem and trend.
Habitat is probably the best known example of a brand having a social media PR problem. The story goes that an intern casually promoted habitat products via a hashtag discussing the Iranian election. This resulted in negative PR and a twitter backlash.
Think: how many times do you use a hashtag without looking at the conversation that it is being used for?
As reported by the BBC, Vigrin Atlantic sacked 13 staff for calling passengers as "Chavs" on facebook. No doubt the social side of Facebook led to these employees communicating with their guard down.
Think: how many times do you interact on facebook and how many people can see those updates and posts? How will your personal thoughts reflect on you and your business?
Businesses often discuss new client wins or client work to show off their credentials and as part of their PR strategies, but they do so via the real time web at alarming speed and often without sanction from a client.
Conversely, I have seen businesses get into trouble for their staff tweeting opinions and promoting content that is contrary to the interest of their clients. They have done this without thinking and again it comes back to the casual nature of the RTW.
Think: what will my client think if they see this post/tweet/status update. Can I afford to upset them?
Don't forget clients will be trending their names and sectors!
5. Political Animals
Stuart McLennan was the labour candidate who was sacked after making casual remarks using twitter. He is quoted as describing old people as "coffin dodgers" and obviously didn't realise or was relaxed about his informal comments.
Think: are my comments appropriate, they will be published to the world.
Whilst I can't confess to have discussed these issues personally with the parties involved it appears from the reports that casual and open communication has cost jobs, careers, brand image and trust.
For me the key is to only tweet, post, like, retweet or interact in a way that you do not mind the rest of the world knowing about.
However, whilst we can think, plan, trend and create policies and strategies to manage and prevent these situations, nothing prepares you for a disgruntled employee. For example Vodafone apologised to its followers after a tweet was sent from its account saying "VodafoneUK is fed up of dirty homo's and is going after beaver".
How would you manage such a situation?
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