While social media has its advantages including low cost, credibility and connectivity, there are also some disadvantages. Prior to posting an update on behalf of yourself or any company, one should consider these potential downfalls. Social media has a lack of anonymity, therefore anything you post online can be traced back to you. Below are three recent social media failures.
First off, there is a high potential for harassment and negativity in social media. Regardless of how positive your post is, there are always those who will find a flaw and use it against you. Take McDonalds for example. They recently launched a few promoted hash tag trends on Twitter (#Meet the Farmers and #McDStories). The generalized #McDStories trend was intended to receive positive feedback, however horror stories of food poisoning and unhealthy food comments were posted instead.
Second, the connectivity aspect also goes hand in hand with the lack of anonymity. Yes it can be an advantage if posts and updates are done right, however when they are done wrong, serious consequences may occur. Just seconds after an update is posted, your viral views begin to grow, especially if it is a scandalous one. Take the Anthony Weiners case for example. The potential New York City mayor’s entire career was ended by one tweet. The married man accidentally tweeted some photos of himself shirtless and in his underwear to women on Twitter, without thinking the entire online world would see them. The indiscretion resulted in the end of his career, even with the televised apology released after the outburst. The lesson here is: think before you click. People love to gossip and spread the negative, and it all happens in seconds.
A third common mistake in social media is that some people don’t always know where to post their updates. Post categories are crucial to the credibility of the post. You don’t post a used car ad in a fashion tab on Kijiji because it’s irrelevant to the category. A social network that has very fine lines about where you should post is Reddit. Recently, Woody Harrelson posted “I am Woody Harrelson AMA” in the AMA (Ask Me Anything) category on Reddit.
The AMA category contains treads where Redditors can ask questions about occupations and life (ex: I’m an electrician, AMA). Harrelson proceeded only to answer question about his upcoming movie: Rampart. This enraged Redditors, who then threatened not to go see the film. One user replied asking if Harrelson remembered taking a high school girl’s virginity, which he replied with “First of off, its not true, and second off, I don’t want to answer questions about that. Lets focus on the film people.” It was labeled one of the” worst AMA threads of all time” and an “epic fail from his PR team”. Needless to say, the rumours are out and Harrelson’s reputation dissolved.
The main lessons learned here are: be aware of what you’re posting, where you’re posting, and who’s going to read your post. Keep that in mind to avoid social media failures and keep your online reputation credible.