There’s a lot of pressure to jump aboard the Social Media Express, because, you know, It’s The Future. So we set up our company Facebook accounts and align our Twitter antennae and troll vigorously for fans and tweeps because, again, It’s Where We’re All Headed.
There can be rewards to this effort, of course. If there weren’t, we would have tossed YouTube into the nearest Tumblr long ago. But how many business are plunging into social media without the slightest idea of what they want out of it?
Or worse, how many times has a CEO or a company decided to use social media to quench a PR brushfire when a news conference — or even measured silence — was a superior choice (cough … BP … cough)?
A tweet or a YouTube video can be perceived as a bully pulpit in which the poster has full control of the message because there’s no one around to pose a question such as, “Huh?”
As our video Exhibit A, we offer Madonna and her recent hydrangea kerfuffle. A live microphone caught Madge dissing the flowery gift at the Venice Film Festival. A little more than a week later, after a video of the diss went Defcon 1 viral, Her Materialness posted a response. An apology? Heh heh heh… not likely.
Was this an appropriate use of social media? For a top-shelf celebrity whose public persona includes a “queen b$#%h” aspect — perhaps it was. But for others? Have you seen less-stellar folks in the business world use this “it’s my social media, so go pound sand” approach?
Dell’s social media head-honcho Richard Binhammer once shared this gem of wisdom with Anthill’s ed-in-chief: “The first thing to understand about social media is that social media does not always mean saying ‘yes’.”
So, have you ever told someone where to stick their hydrangeas via Facebook, Twitter or as a comment? If so, how’d it go? Did it strengthen or harm your personal or company brand?