Social Media Can Be Destructive as Much as a Success

There isn’t a week that goes by where someone goes on Social Media and makes a bad situation into a nuclear meltdown. In this age of instantaneous glorification for positive and negative actions, reactions having instant delivery and effect causes a huge need for pause and understanding.

Take a look online at any major event of the last year and you will find someone who has taken those events and attached themselves in a negative way. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook once used to talk about feelings and plans for a weekend are now turning into life changers, career killers and worse for those who chose to act first, and think later, when it is too late.

When a Touchdown Becomes a Fumble

The big story this week is NFL Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito and his bullying of team mate Jonathan Martin. Now it’s not the bullying that made the news or the reaction so potent. Sure bullying is a hot topic in the news, but there’s more that made this issue the lead sports story it’s become.

The Incognito story exploded more when texts and posts began showing up on Twitter, some from Incognito himself. Sure, it’s pretty obvious Incognito has some issues with his temper that have been well documented (Sociopath has been used to describe him in many outlets).

When reports began to surface, the reaction from Incognito came in the form of Twitter posts to dispute the reports. It was the tone of some of the replies that left little room to doubt the stories coming out. In one Twitter post, Incognito in as many words offered to meet reporter Adam Schefter for a fight to “clear matters up.”

You Can’t Dress Up a Disaster and Make it Go Away

Halloween is a fun time to dress up, but it seems it’s also a time to lose common sense. In two separate cases there were people that dressed up in costumes that were at the very least classless and at worst… well that is still playing out.

One woman dressed for Halloween as a Boston Marathon victim, another group of men dressed as Travon Martin, in black face, and George Zimmerman. The lack of common sense and better judgement (and brains) would have been a localized incident that would surely have upset anyone but was made into a national issue due to photos being uploaded to Social Media sites, including Twitter and Instagram.

The outcome in at least the Boston Marathon costume case was death threats, nude pictures made public and loss of job and continued attacks on Social Media that are directed beyond the initiate, but also to their family.

All over posts on Social Media.

What’s the point of this all?

Many businesses use their Social Media pieces in their marketing. We can get into how businesses have used Social Media improperly and it’s ruined their businesses and their lives. Most business owners forget that in many cases, they are also part of their brand and it’s main representative.

Not controlling how you run your personal Social Media accounts properly can have severe ramifications to your company. Sure we all have something we want to say, but is it something we want everyone to know?

Even your employees can be detrimental to your business efforts if they act as public representatives for your company or services.

What Steps Can You Take to Prevent Social Media Disasters?

It’s easy to react without thinking. We’ve all done it. If you have a combative personality as a business owner, there’s no doubt you’ve have issues in your business. Do you want to carry that online where events and issues can be made aware to many more people for a much longer period of time?

Also, who controls your Social Media accounts? It’s a good idea to make sure your accounts are in the hands of someone who understands important protocols of communication and has your company and it’s best interest in mind.

A few things to remember:

  • Think first! – sure it seems simple, but it’s imperative to not react or initiate anything without considering the ramifications of your actions.
  • Plan – Do you have a post or idea you want to throw online? Write it out, and let it sit. If it seems like a good idea an hour from now, then roll with it. If not, delete, delete, delete.
  • Take YOU out of your Business – Still hard to do, but your business many times needs to operate as a “generic entity” with no causes, beliefs, feelings one way or another. Leave religious, political, and other sensitive issue beliefs in you head or in your circle. Remember, just because you believe in something, you have to respect others who don’t, especially if those who don’t mean dollars in your pocket.
  • Control who sees your information – Still having issues? Allow control of who sees your information to a select group. It’s still not perfect, but could help. In many cases, if you do something or many somethings bad enough, it’ll get out.
  • Hire a Professional! – Many times it’s best for business to hire a company with experience running a successful Social Media program. They understand the in’s and out’s of what best practices are. Whether it is for completed Social Media Management or to come in and consult and help you organize your business with best practices, consulting a professional in many case is what is best for business.

This issue isn’t one that will go away anytime soon. This will be a topic often discussed and there will be more events to transpire where someone misuses Social Media and destroys all they’ve worked hard for.

Social Media is a very powerful tool. In the right hands used properly, it’s gold and in the wrong hands done improperly, it’s a ticking time bomb. Remember these points every time you go online and comment on a blog, post a photo, or post a status update. It might be the last one for your business.