How to Recover From A Social Media Fail
Social media fail’s are not limited to the Weiner’s, Rihanna’s and Gucci Mane’s of the world. Sooner or later, you will also “accidentally” post something that you really should not or you will post something that ends up being perceived in a different way than what you originally intended opening the flood gates of controversy and even possibly really bad publicity.
This happened recently to a popular blogger who was herded into one of this year’s biggest twitter controversies after one of her tweets re the Miss America pageant was taken out of context. Despite a retraction (folks, that tweet made it all the way to the New York Post) and a post on her blog to explain herself, I don’t think that she can ever fully recover from the accusations and harassment that ensued because of her tweet.
What to Do When That “Ooops” Moment Occurs
First and foremost, be mindful of what you post online, especially if you are a business owner or represent a brand. If you are a blogger, when you post from the twitter and facebook page that is associated with your blog, please bear in mind that you are representing your brand.
This is something that I am working on myself because sometimes it’s hard to act oblivious to social issues when they arise. We also have our own personalities and belief systems that we feel strongly about and would love to impart them on the world. However, you can’t really do that on digital media, especially if it is not part of the brand that you created online because you just don’t know where your posts will end up or who may be offended .
The best advice that I heard came from Claire Sulmer’s who spoke at the Cocktail and Couture’s branding panel a few weeks ago. Try your best to stay on topic at all times. Or you run the risk of drumming up the wrong kinds of controversy that will attract unwanted publicity, harassment or have you engaged in a pissing match with a potential psycho stranger .
- What Did I Say….? Upon receiving the first strong “angry,” “accusatory” response to something you posted, immediately scroll through your posts and try to gauge how your post or tweets is being perceived. Keep in mind that there may be 10 angry people for every one person who steps to you. Don’t wait until there is a line of angry people stretched down the block before you make any attempts at damage control.
- Shut it down…! Once you discover the culprit, especially something that you suspect could snowball and end up in the New York Post, DELETE IT and put up a simple, and firm statement such as “Sorry for any misunderstanding from my earlier post. That is not what I intended…blah, blah”
- Take the high road...! Don’t at any point engage with or get into an online pissing match with any of the emotionally charged, angry people who might have seen your post/tweet before you deleted it. Matter of fact, stay off of your [insert social media channel here] account for at least 48 hours to avoid any temptation to respond to anyone.
- Don’t bring other people in…! If it’s an issue of perception or something that is taken out of context, discourage your support team (i.e. friends) from fanning the flames of an already explosive situation by tweeting about people’s lack of reading comprehension or writing that people’s feelings were not valid. Yes, this happened in the case I am referring to above. It’s ALWAYS good for people to have your back, but not when their efforts of providing you with support only ends up extending your time in the hot seat.
- Last effort! If this happens to you, hopefully it wont get to the point where you have to write something longer than the statement in the Shut It Down paragraph above. If it comes to that, unless you are a political writer, don’t use your last ditch effort to promote your ideals or politics. Just apologize, provide a concise explanation if you have to and get out of there.
I don’t know the blogger and I don’t mean to pass judgment on her, but I think that if she had taken a minute to gather herself, her thoughts and gauged her reaction that this wouldn’t have gone as far as it did. Then again, my “ooops” never went that far and I honestly don’t know how I would have reacted if hundreds of people began to attack me on a public forum. Hopefully, everyone learned from her really harsh lesson.