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

Ethical Implications of Graphic Images

The Boston Bombings brought along many images of people who were either killed or seriously injured in the blasts. Many of these images were placed in online articles with a disclaimer that these images were graphic and people should look at their own risk. But when it comes to social media, there sometimes is no disclaimer. Even if there is a warning in the text of the post, often times the audience scrolls to the image before they have a chance to read the warning. I honestly don’t see anything good that can come from posting graphic photos from the Boston Bombings on social media.

Images that end up in various news feeds don’t have age filters on them. Even if a teen is old enough to have Facebook or Twitter,  they may not be mature enough to handle images of death or gruesome injuries. Obviously I don’t think the teens would be seeking out images of this nature, so I believe it is the responsibility of the person who is posting them to consider all the ways that it could upset the audience if he or she did post them.

As I mentioned, instead of posting the image directly to social media, they could post the article with the disclaimer, to give people a choice of whether they want to see the images or not. This could not only shield minors from viewing the images, but it would protect friends and family members of the victims from having to involuntarily see images that might bring back painful memories. Finally, if members of the audience have an uneasy stomach or can’t handle any type of blood or gore, the wall of the link would shield them from the potential of getting sick.

If someone were to post graphic images from the Boston Bombings on social media for everyone to see, some could view that as the person wanting attention or trying to shock the audience rather than doing something good. With a tragedy so widely publicized as this, people understand the extent of the damage without having to see it on social media. If people wanted to donate their time or blood to help victims, they could do that without a graphic image persuading them.

Finally, if a victim of the tragedy was injured and one of their photos was put on social media without their permission, there could be serious ethical concerns. Personal privacy vs. public interest would certainly be one of the main arguments. The victim may not want to be remembered forever as “the person who survived the Boston Bombings” and wouldn’t want to be looked on with pity for the rest of his or her life. If their photo was placed on social media and went viral, there’s a good chance that the person would never be able to break their public association with the event.

 

The Convenience of Privacy

When it comes to social media, privacy can be a tricky thing. People are on social networks to connect and share information with their friends. But certain people don’t want the entire world knowing their business. This is where privacy settings come in. If I’m being honest, I probably haven’t taken a close look at my privacy settings for at least six months to a year. I just don’t post that many things on social media where I feel like it would hurt my safety or my reputation if they were made totally public. There are certain things that I hide from certain people, mainly family members, that I might want to hide so I don’t get bombarded with questions. The beauty of status updates on Facebook, my main social network, is that you can block certain people from seeing one post, but not your entire profile. I am willing to admit that I have done that a few times to save myself a little stress.

I think many people don’t use privacy settings to their advantage because they either don’t understand them or aren’t aware of involuntary changes made to them. There are ways to combat both issues. Every time Facebook, Twitter or any other social media channel makes changes to their privacy policy, the channel needs to go out of their way to notify users. They can send emails, messages, news feed posts, whatever they need to do to make sure users are aware of the smallest change in their privacy. People will lessen the complaints as long as they feel like the channel is being honest with them. And to make users comprehend them better, instead of only using legal jargon, they could also have a simpler explanation next to it for reference.

Another aspect to privacy on social media is whether you should have to deal with journalists in a supposed “safe space.” I studied journalism in undergrad and I consider myself an ethical journalist. My alma mater, The University of Arizona, would condemn me if I were to ever try to contact a source of a sensitive news situation on social media. However, I will alter their way of thinking for my own process in getting the scoop. I will use social media to connect with a source, only if every other mode of communication had been exhausted. But, I would be completely honest about who I was and what my motive was. I will not compromise my integrity and ethics just for a story.

In the same vein, if I did gain access to that person’s private social media material, all of that material would remain private unless I was otherwise given permission to use it. If the words “off the record” are spoken, the information is not usable. I would not take the information from the source and share it as my own on any social network unless I was allowed to do so. Republishing material without permission is a form of plagiarism and copyright infringement. If I didn’t want someone else to do it to me, I am certainly not going to do it to them.

All In Social Moderation

When I consider behavior patterns on social media, I don’t think Facebook and Twitter are all that different for the average person. When it comes to language, people seem to be just as informal on Twitter as they are on Facebook. I think people tend to say more on Facebook just because they can. Many of the things posted on social media require an explanation or backstory that cannot be explained in 140 characters. For me, I’m more laid back on Facebook than I am on Twitter. I think because of the character restriction, I have to think long and hard about what I’m going to say on Twitter. That is why I think I use Facebook for pleasure and I use Twitter for school-and-work-related business.

I know I take more chances on Twitter than I do on Facebook, especially when it comes to engaging with other people, particularly celebrities. On Facebook, I moderate what I say in content because it’s just my friends and I am not sure how they are going to respond to what I post. With Twitter, some of my followers are complete strangers and the celebrities I tweet are not personal friends of mine. So I actually feel more comfortable posting things to strangers than I do my friends. I don’t care if someone I don’t know wants to ignore me or thinks what I said was dumb, but I care about what my friends think of me.

Moving to the content I post on each channel, I think Facebook is where I can be myself and post about my personal life or things I find interesting. I try not to post about a high score on a game to annoy my audience, but I will send a game request if I need one because that’s private between two people. I haven’t posted something about school in six months, which means I’m actually using Facebook to be social. On my Twitter profile, you will see many retweets or mentions of other people. I try to engage as many as I can to increase my followers. My postings also aren’t as frequent on Twitter because of my issues with the character count that I mentioned before. I actually didn’t post on Twitter for over two months because I didn’t have anything that interesting to post.

Ethically, I don’t see much of a difference in what people say between Facebook and Twitter. I think people moderate and respond to comments on Facebook more than they respond on Twitter. The response on Twitter is usually just the few words they can fit into a retweet, but not an actual thought out response. I think most of the time people don’t moderate, they sit back and enjoy the fact that people are paying attention to them. Moderation for any business is important because it shows the audience you’re listening and that you care, which I’m learning in my job.

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.

 

Billboard is Climbing the Social Media Charts Slowly

Having a good relationship with customers is imperative to the success of a brand. In scanning all of the major brands I follow on social media, one seemed to stand out as being on their way to conducting good customer relationship management or CRM. Billboard is a well-respected company that specializes in analyzing chart success of today’s biggest songs while also breaking major music news. They currently have channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram which totals close to 5 million followers among the 3 channels. Their current CRM on social media is good, but like everything else, can be improved.

Billboard on Twitter does a great job of mentioning other musical artists that are in the articles they tweet. What they don’t do is engage in conversations with those artists or any other fans. The only retweets they send are when they are mentioned in the tweet or the tweet contains an article that was written by Billboard.

Billboard

 

Their activity on their Facebook page is pretty much the same as Twitter. They tag artists’ fan pages that are mentioned in the articles they share. However, they have received anywhere from two to 2,000 comments on posts just from the last few days and they haven’t replied or liked a single one! A social media team is not only meant to create the posts, but engage with the customers and Billboard is not doing that. At O.C.D. Experience, even if our social media team doesn’t reply to every comment or tweet, we at least like or favorite the comment or tweet. No response at all makes it seem like Billboard doesn’t care about its fanbase as much as other companies do.

Billboard’s voice on Facebook is so stale that when they do try to add some personality, it seems like they’re doing it because they have to, not because they want to. But, their Twitter account seems like it is run by a completely different person because their voice is fun and at least tries to include the audience a little by asking questions. Their Twitter profile is updated several more times a day than their Facebook page, which show’s me where their social media focus is. If one were to really analyze it, there seems to be a new person tweeting than there was even a few days ago, because the voice has gotten more lively in the last handful of tweets. Overall on both accounts, it’s very clear that their purpose on social media is to promote themselves. Every single post on Facebook or update on Twitter has a link to an article on their website.

If they want to increase their influence on social media, they need to start including their audience in conversations and don’t put 100 percent of the focus on self-promotion. I know what I said last week about self-promotion, but there’s a certain point where it gets too much, and Billboard has surpassed that point. I want to enjoy following them on social media, but unless they change their habits, I won’t be able to enjoy them.

Using My Voice To Build Relationships

This week’s lecture brought up a topic that I’ve been analyzing for several weeks now, finding my voice on social media. I want to be as authentic as possible, but it’s more difficult for me because I also want to be perfect. I definitely have a different voice in written form (emails, social media, blogs etc.) than I do on the phone or in person. Social media is my area to take chances and be bolder with my relationships than I would over the phone or in person, because I can hide behind a computer. That’s an ethical quandary in itself. Once I find and become comfortable in my voice, I think building relationships will become much easier.

As I look over the checklist of advice on finding my voice provided to us in lecture, I have not perfected any of these items, but I’m more confident in certain areas. On Facebook, in both my professional account with the O.C.D. Experience and my personal account, I usually don’t speak unless I’m spoken to. I feel like that aligns with my personality because I am always approachable, but not usually the approacher. I always respond to every message I receive on Facebook, but I’m beginning to send more messages than I used to, at least on my personal account. As I get more confident in my job with the O.C.D. Experience, I may start to make connections that will improve the reach of the brand. Twitter for some reason gives me more confidence to grow my personal brand of becoming a music critic, because I have reached out to, and gotten responses from a few people in the industry that can help later on.

I feel like my natural tone in my writing is a healthy mix of passion and sarcasm. If I enjoy what I am writing about in blogs or social media, the audience will be able to feel that when they read it. When I enjoy writing, I am usually very conversational and human. If not I sound like a robot, which annoys me probably more than it annoys my audience. Unless I am doing something for school, I make myself available at all times for engaging with the audience of the O.C.D. Experience and I respond as quickly as I can. As a company, O.C.D. Experience has lessened the amount we sell on social media, because after a while the same people are seeing the same messages all the time. This can ruin relationships rather than build them.

I think the reason some brands see quick response as a threat is because it challenges them to be better. When responding to a customer’s needs, I respond as fast as I can because that’s what they need from me, moreso than what’s most beneficial to the company. Maintaining good relationships by responding to the needs of the audience will be beneficial to both the audience and the brand because it allows for brand loyalty and maintaining relationships.