Tuesday, 18 June 2013

For better or worse...

I've been watching a couple of news stories unfold over the last week or so. Both stories centred around an individual in the public eye and concerned their personal lives. It must be a tricky being both a human being and a brand simultaneously. I have every sympathy for the person at the centre of the spotlight, it wouldn't be a place I'd want to be! However, I was struck by how the subjects of the news stories conducted themselves on social media.

One appeared to handle the situation personally through their twitter feed. A couple of tweets and a web link calmed the furore sufficiently that the interest moved on quite quickly.

The other is just carrying on with what are, seemingly, pre-scheduled posts. There's not even a nod towards the situation by varying the content even slightly. It's perhaps a sign of the times that it's now "news" when someone doesn't pass comment on Twitter!

Sometimes refusing, or forgetting, to acknowledge what is happening in the world outside of social media is a real mistake. Managing media storms is not a new problem, but social media makes it a far more urgent issue. When everyone is aware that a response could be posted immediately, there's an expectation that it should be posted.

I'm not advocating that people should feel an obligation to share their personal lives on social media if they choose not to do so. However, a status update to that effect during a period in the spotlight is better than no response at all.

Undoubtedly the media circus will move on, but there are lessons to be learned for all of us:
  1. Don't ignore offline media storms on social media
  2. Address the issues politely & firmly (regardless of how you may actually feel!)
  3. An update that says "it" is too personal to talk about on social media is better than nothing.
  4.  Take care not to get drawn into an acrimonious exchange of tweets/updates
  5. If people are abusive then use your block button and report them
  6. Say thank you to the people that support you