“When you don’t have a destination in mind, any road will get you there.”
As you use social media, you can expect at some point to see another social media primates start flinging shit at each other. If you’re caught without a social media strategy – well, you won’t know whether to join in or run for cover.
I’ve found myself examining my social media strategy more often than not lately. There have been plenty of opportunities to pick up the nearest pile and start flinging shit with the best of them. Recently, I happily joined in on both the Belkin Review Payola and the Cash4Gold social media firestorm. Like most bloggers- when opportunity knocks I’m usually willing to answer!
If you don’t have a blog – then you should know that finding fresh content is a constant challenge for EVERY blogger. A good old fashioned shit fight can provide WEEKS of content, not to mention currying inbound links and a bit of notoriety as added bonuses along the way.
Shit fights can be good for your blog – when used judiciously.
However, you not only have to decide which fights you’ll join but also where to draw the line.
Before either of these recent “social media disasters” appeared on the radar, another social media ruckus was brewing. At the time, one of my fellow “social marketing primates” started throwing shit and I was faced with the decision of whether to join.
Since I wasn’t personally attacked, that meant I had a choice on whether or not to join. When Jason Cohen found himself in the middle of a social media shit fight, he had no choice. The shit was being flung DIRECTLY at him and he had no choice but to respond. Fortunately, Jason’s a REALLY smart bear and defused the situation BRILLIANTLY!
When the shit is aimed you – you don’t have a choice. However, when the shit isn’t flying directly your way, that’s when you’ve got a decision to make.
Do you join in or do you sit this one out?
I wasn’t named in the incident in question and now I have a choice to make. When you’re faced with this choice, you can
- ignore it.
- report on it “objectively” and yet not include yourself directly in the line of fire. You do this by NOT be naming names or disclosing URLS. (See a great example of Darren Rowse doing this in Twitter is a Stage – Be Careful What You Say. He doesn’t give link luv to his detractors.)
- name names, list urls and make yourself a potential target.
Let it be known that there are times when joining in and naming names is EXACTLY what you should do. That’s where your social media strategy comes into play.
It’s what Arlen Parsa did with regards to the Belkin Review Payola Scandal and the choice Rob Cockerham made with the Cash4Gold blog post. It’s a social media strategy that has paid off well for both of these bloggers.
However, on the other hand, I also advised my own client not to participate in a brewing shit storm as a part of HER developing social media strategy.
There is no “one size fits all” advice when it comes to social media strategy!
Unfortunately, when tempers flare in social media, it leaves a lasting trail. Unlike the footprints left in the sand at the beach – these footprints are cemented online forever.
Ask Ian Capstick of the Media Style blog. He reports in his post Twitter Fight, about an exchange which became heated on Twitter between reporter David George-Cosh and April Dunford, principle consultant with Rocket Launch media. The portion of the “tiff” that happened “online” has left a trail of words set in stone. At last count, the comments to the post numbered 85 and the trackbacks for the post were at 15 and counting.
One of those trackbacks is from the blog of Jennifer Leggio of ZD Net. In A tale of two faux pas: When transparency meets bad behavior she writes:
My quick summary based on Capstick’s post: George-Cosh reached out to Dunford regarding a story he was working on and she took a day or so to get back to him. He was, according to Dunford’s Twitter stream, rude to her during the eventual call back, so she expressed frustration in a tweet. It was clear to George-Cosh, it seems, that she was talking about him since they’d just hung up the phone. Her defense was, and I paraphrase, “Dude, I didn’t say your name.” George-Cosh swore. A lot. She put on a show of trying to calm him. It ended… poorly.
Here’s the upside to this story – April is “social networking aware”. She knew when the internet was talking about her and was able to post “her side” of the story. She does so in a comment on Jennifer’s blog.
Another “bonus” is April’s online reputation was already well established when this occurred. Because she was properly “inoculated” and her online reputation was already well established, this tussle is NOT the first that that comes up when you Google her name.
Unfortunately, David George-Cosh is not so lucky. His Twitter feud with April comes in at #4 with the newspaper article Journalists are not above the rules of decorum when you search for his name on Google.
The National Post has apologized, but the damage is done. David’s name will be coloured by this event for a while. And the Post will be associated with it, too.
What’s your social media strategy? How do you decide between “fight” or “flight” when it comes to social media?