A Remedial Lesson in Social Media Protocol




So what do you do when your "funny" social media post is universally attacked for being in poor taste, insensitive, and flat out not humorous?  As one celebrity of a poorly-crafted Tweet found out, don't try to explain it, defend it, and then attack the masses who've pointed out your grievous mistake.

It's just the latest example of social media gone wrong.  In fact it's the equivalent of the home owner who paints his house fluorescent orange and green. When his neighbors complain and he refuses to repaint it, he replies: "Fine. I'll just burn it down."

Deleting an egregious post is the first thing to do. It doesn't make the problem go away nor is it meant to pretend it never happened. And though some might contend that it's an admission of fault, it's not. It's an admission of at the very least a post that wasn't completely thought out and one that is causing outrage instead of providing entertainment or information. And that's what social media is meant to do.  Remove it out of respect.

Did your audience misinterpret your words? Did they not get the joke? Are they overreacting? The answers are irrelevant. If the negative reactions outweighs the positive ones, then you failed in your primary directive. To entice, engage, or entertain your followers. Just swallow your pride and apologize if not for the remark then for at least how it was not your intent to great a negative reaction.

The other lesson individuals and companies can glean form this is to stay within your frame of reference. Make comments and observations about what you know. If I follow a football player, I'm interested in his opinions about the game, players, the draft, heck even commercials. But not only does he have no sphere of reference regarding the fluctuating dollar in Europe, the important part is that do I not care about his take on it.  I watched all the World Cup games this year and I have plenty to say about them and its players; how to best kick a ball into the goal is not one of them.

Unfortunately many people don't have that filter of what is and isn't appropriate. Just ask your Uncle Phil about his comments about the turkey last Thanksgiving. We can respond to anything that moves or touches us regardless of the relevance it has to our lives or business. But if you plan to make it public, make it relevant to you or really don't say it at all.


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