Social media lessons we can all learn from the most outspoken, opinionated, yet fascinating Presidential candidate.
If you were slapped by a stranger, would you turn and run, restrain them, or hit back? For many of us raised in and around New York City, a slap is returned with a closed fist to the jaw. Not fighting fair? The attitude is, if you make an unprovoked or unfair hit we will hit you much harder. This transcends socioeconomic class. Perhaps it's why one time New York City Police Commissioner Teddy Roosevelt would speak softly and carry that big stick.
The same applies to verbal slapping which has moved for the most part from the streets to the Web. Twitter seems to be the arena of choice where tweets fly quickly with stinging jabs. A football player disses a rival team; a rapper calls out another for not having street creds. The retorts that are often crude, inflammatory, libelous even - but good fodder for our reality-obsessed public that relishes these verbal smack downs.
The social media tough talking is safer than saying it face to face and that's part of the problem. The attackers are rarely held to their words. We hold our politicians to a (seemingly) higher standard. They are expected to dismiss the vitreous comments and barbs, show decorum and move on - but NYC's own Donald Trump has his own approach.
If you cross Trump - particularly if he believes it's unprovoked - you cross him for life, as Rosie O'Donnell among others now know. He carries that same city kid, you-slap-me-I-obliterate-you style over into his social media. At times his posts come off as snarky, sarcastic, and sage. Other times as incendiary or sour grapes, but he never comes off as wishy-washy. If Trump says he doesn't like you, he really doesn't like you. You're on Team Trump or against them. That black and white perspective is another quality of NYC social media.
As for Megyn Kelly's debate question regarding disrespect for women, Mr. Trump should have simply replied, "I believe in equality. If someone insults or unfairly critiques me, it's open season regardless of who they are." It appears that Trump does not consider your sex, race, age, or anything about you before he hits back. It's a no-holds barred, instinctual approach. If you poke at Mr. Trump - even in jest - prepare to fight, run, or duck swiftly.
Trump's debate ratings were through the roof. But the most remarkable thing to me about Donald Trump the Presidential candidate is not his gloves-off verbal bouts. It's the fact that he's actually reading these tweets and posts and taking the time to reply to them. Think about that for a moment. I'd bet Trump employees will tell you he is anything but a hands-off manager. Sure, he likely has people searching for these social media attacks, but the replies are unabashedly all Donald's words, not those of a social media think tank massaging the right message.
Maybe his time would be better served elsewhere but that Über involvement is impressive. I'm sure if there is something that rubs Trump the wrong way in this column, I'll hear from him as well. His off-the-charts confidence can be confounding, off-putting, engaging and refreshing all at the same time. That's social media Trump style. Not for the politically correct or faint of heart. It makes him as many detractors as it does supporters. Or as Trump might summarize, "You don't like me? Too bad, loser."
Three things that we can all take from the Trump style of social media.
- Read what people are saying about you and your company yourself. Don't just leave it to a junior member.
- Address attacks and issues immediately. If a disgruntled employee or customer makes unfounded claims or even legitimate complaints address it immediately on social media. Waiting only compounds the problem.
- Watch what you say, people are listening, just waiting to throw off those gloves and use that big stick.