Recent years have yielded the explosion of social media quite unmatched by much else in my generation. In my 26 years, I’ve gone from the excitement of experiencing the advent of the online chat room and first generation at-home computers to managing several personalized social media accounts accessed on-the-go from my smart phone. Social media allows us to connect in ways only dreamt of a decade ago, and boy, has it been a heck of a ride.
Augmentation of our businesses with modern communication has not been immune to the fare share of challenges. One can’t scan too many PR publications without coming across an article on the importance of not only integrating social media into strategic business plans, but also the dangers of operating without employee policies regarding social media.
That being said, we’re still figuring it all out. Like lots of important lessons, we learn by watching. There sure is a lot to learn from Kenneth Cole’s recent Twitter post. Unfortunately for the designer, I don’t think angering thousands was the reaction he was looking to get. But, I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt in assuming there was any foresight into the reaction he’d get, because I’m pretty sure he didn’t think about it. I’d like to think that someone, anyone, would have grimaced at the post if Cole had thought to get a second opinion. (Maybe I’m too optimistic. Clearly someone was all thumbs up before Groupon’s Super Bowl commercials aired).
When it comes to social media, there is, sadly, no “insert foot into mouth” button on the toolbar. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. And that’s the thing: social media just makes it so darn easy to put it out there. And while many in PR would panic at the thought of putting a company representative on the mike at a press conference with nothing but a “go for it” nod of encouragement, isn’t that essentially what we’re doing when we allow all employees to carte-blanche post, tweet and update?
Two lessons learned: One, maybe comparing your new spring line to tumult in Egypt is not the best idea. Just give us the link. We’ll check it out, we like your clothes. Save the jokes, funny man. Secondly, we’ve come a long way, but until the development of the “un-Tweet” button, maybe we all better stop and think a minute before we hit “send”.
The views expressed in this post are mine alone and do not reflect the views of Vehr Communications, LLC.