The Social Slap: Strike Back Or Stay Still
January 17, 2012
Nothing like the NFL Playoff season to serve as a reminder of incivility and the lack of discipline on these social platforms. Someone insults you, you have two choices: strike back or employ solid character. It’s not always easy to do the latter.
You may have read about Aaron Berry, a Detroit Lions cornerback who lost his cool on Twitter over “fans” lashing out on the Lions after the team lost to the New Orleans Saints during the Wild Card Playoffs:
Ultimately Berry apologized for his cruel tweet about a city and its fans that have been kicked around much more than most. But socially, some people did not accept his apology and took to their preferred platforms to call Berry out:
Look, it’s not easy. You want to defend your honor - it’s your pride that just took a shot by someone with “keyboard courage. “ But you have to be self-acknowledged enough to consider the source. Don’t let the heat of the moment chip away at your brand equity.
Consumers will hold a brand (whether it’s a business or a person) accountable for social incivility - regardless if someone else took the first shot. “My bad” is no longer sufficient. People expect more from business and celebrity types - including radio personalities - and they should. Just because you’re typing something and not saying it to someone’s face does not make it any less social - or offensive.
For some reason, the Internet has been viewed as an “unrestricted playground.” It’s as if social platforms have become a gateway for an increased lack of civility. People will say what they want regardless of the impact and it’s as if the subsequent apology to those hurt by ill words seems to excuse their cybernated slap.
Imagine if PPM/diary numbers were publically released each week and you started taking shots like these in the moment of your defeat:
Ouch. And it’s not just fair weathered fans, because beat writers can be vicious, too. New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez took heat when he reportedly unfollowed most of the Jets social ink slingers on Twitter. He simply had enough of tweets like this:
Civility in general is a major issue to most Americans according to the 2010 National Civility Survey.
Below is a pyramid to show you where Americans identified the areas in which they believe the most uncivil behavior is displayed.
As you see, social networking is near the bottom (and Talk Radio is near the top). But as social platforms become even more widely used in this country, it’s to our benefit to master the art of discipline now by choosing our words wisely.
This sounds like common sense, but it is not common practice. Many of you are aware that there have already been radio personality casualties over getting into skirmishes and scrums with tweeters and posters.
Here are some basic rules for managing dialogue in this open digital and social space:
- Listen carefully and don’t react immediately.
- Comments are only as valid as the person behind them.
- Respond to every comment as the voice of reason.*
*Communicate to combative or inappropriate “posters” that you uphold the same standards online that you do on the air. If they ignore you and continue to exhibit bad behavior, remove and/or ban them and move on.
Online trolls have the power to redefine your brand in an instant. Don’t get caught up in the heat of the moment. Just remember this famous tweeter’s words:
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
Please enjoy MERGE archives here.