Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters (be careful with that keyboard, it’s loaded)

Taking a brief break from my break from discussing Social Media to post about this good slide deck from IBM about Social Media and how NOT to use it.  The presentation sites more than a dozen examples of how companies have blundered on the web, but my favorite is definitely Ryanair’s press release stating “Ryanair can confirm that a Ryanair staff member did engage in a blog discussion.  It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy in corresponding with idiot bloggers and Ryanair can confirm that it won’t be happening again.  Lunatic bloggers can have the blogosphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel.”

It describes some etiquette in using social media as a business, but these rules also apply to us as individuals.  I mention this in response to observing individuals engage in a social media personal assault.

With any form of broadcast communications (media), you should be sensitive to your audience.  But with social media, it is even more important because of the broad reach one person can have and the permanence it has.  With social media an individual can broadcast their message as widely as a fortune 500 company with a huge marketing budget, and once posted, it cannot be fully removed.  It’s a loaded gun.  There is no putting the bullet back once the trigger has been pulled.  So when it comes to using it, be judicious.  A great rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you would have these 4 people read it:  your mother, your child, your future employer, and the person it is talking about.  If it can pass this test, it is probably good to publish.

When in doubt, leave it out.
Not to be confused with controversy, which can be healthy as it stimulates discussion and protects us from following on blind faith.  Don’t be afraid to point it out when “the Emperor has no clothes.”

Check out other related slide decks from IBM at


Posted on December 22, 2011, in social media and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters (be careful with that keyboard, it’s loaded).

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