Attention mass media, multinational businesses, and spokesmen for leaders of the free world…… Your words and actions are being recorded, and we have the receipts. Really this applies to all of us. If you have a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media sharing app or web site….. You have created a living history that WILL follow you. Now is that statement kind of scary? Perhaps. But most of us are really just shouting at a wall and hoping someone is listening.
For most of us, there MIGHT be a couple people paying a little bit of attention to what we say or do in the cyber-social world. Maybe we post a pic where the sunlight was hitting us just right and we get more likes than usual. Maybe we get off a hot take in 140 or less that gets re-tweeted by someone with more than a hundred followers. If we’re lucky, we start blogging with our like-minded friends and expand our mental footprint to hundreds of strangers. No matter. We can still fire off some things that might offend and insult people or groups. The worst that could happen is we actually get a PM from someone we respect that says, “Yo, My G you were kinda out of pocket on that one. Might want to fall back for a sec.” If you are in business however, there can be far more serious consequences.
Example 1, Pepsi Co. I’ve already written about this one here. Pepsi embarked on a failed mission to attempt to have their own “I’d like to buy the world a coke and keep it company” ad campaign. Except instead of it being 1971 and the trying times of Vietnam and a post hippie flower child era of protests and unity, it’s 2017 and people are mad AF about being killed by police and the new Trump World Order. However thinking the water was too deep, they decided to swim. Whoops, the backlash was swift. Before the ad even hit major media markets or television, it was being roasted like a chicken at Costco. Thankfully for Kendall Jenner and Pepsi, Sean Spicer, AKA the Spiceman came along like Baywatch to save them.
Example 2, Sean Spicer. Just as Pepsi was beginning to feel the heat of the social media world, in comes the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer doing his best “What do you mean you shouldn’t use Adolf Hitler and the Nazis as a ‘not-as-bad-as’ comparison” fail. A world of advise to ANYONE using social media or speaking outside of the comfort of the privacy of their own home….. If you are thinking about using Hitler as a reference point….. DON’T. No matter how articulate you think you might be, you are NOT going to win this one. It’s a L, a big phat L. You have to see it coming. It’s a pile of great dane dog shit in the middle of the sidewalk and if you step in it, it’s NOT the dog’s fault. It was so bad, the WH Press Corp themselves immediately on site asked him, “Yo my G, are you SURE you want to say what you just said, because we see and smell the great dane dog shit on your shoe and it’s not a good look”. April Ryan’s look says it all.
And finally we get to United Air Lines…. Apparently no one at UAL has ever been on the internet or seen just how fast something like dragging a passenger from his seat, blooding his face and taking some of his teeth, can spread across social media. I even had a heated Facebook exchange with a person in the Airline industry who proudly said they “hope he doesn’t get a dime” because he should have taken the compensation and complied. Look, it would have been much cheaper and beneficial for the CEO of UAL to take $20 million cash, all singles, douse it with jet fuel, and set it aflame…. than it was for that video to go public and then try to play both sides of the fence. This incident is going to be used as a Harvard case study in what NOT to do when you fuck up in the age of social media. Not only did they lose hundreds of millions of dollars in stock valuation, but the damage on social media has been swift, and only as savage as the internet can be. Meme
Bottom line is this, in the age of meme makers sitting in their attics or basements, viral videos, and twitter hashtags….. your policy and procedures manual doesn’t mean shit. If you got more to lose than most people trolling the internet looking for stupid shit (like myself), follow one simple rule….. What would an internet troll do with this?