Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Spontaneous reputation combustion

It's been said in many Social Media blogs - including this one - that even the most solidly built and carefully crafted virtual presence can be demolished by an ill advised blog or tweet.

I witnessed one such spontaneous combustion a few days ago. One of my followers (don't bother looking they're not there now!) uses Twitter, predominantly, for social interaction. Like a lot of people they have links to their business on their profile and mention it occasionally in their feed.

On the day in question this person engaged in a rather contentious, but short, exchange with another Twitter user. This is not, in itself, likely to cause mass umbrage. Twitter is a great place to engage in constructive debate - if you remember two things:

1. Your tweets are not exclusive to the person you are in debate with (unless you use the Direct Message function)

2. Other people can - and will - join in

By the time the individual had been retweeted, and had topical hashtags added to their comments, they were in way over their heads. They had been caught up in a Twitter tidal wave.

Their followers started to drop away. People they had been talking to for months blocked them. There was talk of not using their business as a supplier from local tweeps. Days later, they are still getting tweets from disgruntled people.

So, how many tweets does it take to damage your business? In this case 6.

Be careful out there...