Public Figures on Social Media

Any person who is considered a public figure tends to be more heavily scrutinized than the average person. When those public figures then go on social media, where there is a very large audience on each network at a given time, all eyes are on them for everything they say. So when Kanye West had a Twitter feud with Jimmy Kimmel, the media had a field day with it. I don’t think it’s possible for anyone with over 1 million Twitter followers (Kanye and Kimmel have 14 million among the two of them) to hide anything from the media, or have any freedom to truly speak their minds without being criticized.

When people have this many fans on social media, any little thing they say can be blown out of proportion. Even who they follow, or don’t follow on Twitter can cause an uproar. It can cause rumors to be spread and false information to be published all over the internet. Paparazzi might be packed so tightly around their homes or any restaurants that it’s difficult for these people to go anywhere. The commercial implications of the rumored feud between Ariana Grande and Jennette McCurdy also leaked into their personal lives, with rumors about the two not being paid equally on their show Sam & Cat and the question of who really leaked McCurdy’s racy photos. All this because McCurdy posted a few cryptic messages on Twitter about a former friend being “a leech”.

If I were the social media manager of a public figure, which I am to an extent, I would enourage them to run everything they want to publish on social media through me first. If I’m being paid to post and moderate their social media accounts for them, I need to be able to also give them advice on what is or is not a good idea to say. The beauty of social media is that you can think and craft a perfect response to someone without them seeing the “first draft” of what you really wanted to say. If a public figure has a social media manager, my advice to them would be to bounce ideas off that person instead of posting on instinct. It may be entertaining for the audience to see an unedited rant, but for the public figure, it could ruin his or her reputation.

The golden rule for broadcasters mentioned in this final lecture of the semester was “if you wouldn’t say it on air, do not tweet it.” This can certainly be applied to my future brand of critic. I am blunt and brutally honest most times. I’m hoping my brand will grow big enough that I am in public figure status one day. I would never say anything in any of my blog posts that I wouldn’t want to post on social media. I own up to every critique I make and I will make sure that whatever I say does not reflect poorly on myself or on any public figure I may critique.

Advertisements

Saving Your Reputation On Social Media

As a budding music critic, I need to prepare myself to receive and properly handle negative criticism. Not everyone is going to like what I say, but I would need to make sure that my reputation with the rest of my audience stays intact. Handling people on social media who have negative things to say about your brand or company can be very tricky. British Airways learned that the hard way when a follower on Twitter, who goes by the handle @HVSVN, sent them a negative tweet. This person went one step further by paying to have the tweet promoted, so more people than just his followers and the followers for British Airways would see it.

BA Tweet

There are many ways to go about rectifying this issue, but not all of them are ethically sound. First of all, British Airways would need to ask this person what the problem is and apologize in advance for any stress that may have been caused. In the case of @HVSVN, whose real name is Hasan Syed, his bags were lost on a recent British Airways flight. If I were responding on behalf of British Airways, I may even apologize that his tweet was not answered until the next morning, but also kindly remind him that the hours of operation for British Airways’ Twitter account is 9 a.m.-5 p.m. as it states in the biography of the account.

I believe British Airways handled gathering his luggage information in an ethical manner, by asking that Syed send it to them via direct message on Twitter. Once the information was received, I would keep Syed up-to-date on any new information we acquired regarding the bag. Once the bag was located and shipped, I would have informed Syed of when he should expect his luggage to arrive at his address. A few days after the luggage was due to arrive, if I hadn’t heard from Syed, I would have followed up with him via Twitter to make sure the luggage had arrived safely. Then I would make sure that he knew that British Airways would do their best to make sure his bags were not lost next time he flies with us.

I also think that British Airways did the right thing by releasing a statement to the media. Specific details were left out, but the public was reassured of British Airways’ good reputation, if it was clouded by the negative tweet. This way the matter with the luggage was dealt with privately with Syed, but the public still got closure on the situation. What I would not do is offer Syed any more compensation other than the returned luggage. If others found out about extra compensation and were not offered the same thing if it happens to them or happened to them in the past, it could ruin British Airways’ reputation even more.

Hopefully my brand never has to deal with anything this difficult or public with any member of my audience. But if it does, I would handle it in a more timely manner than British Airways.