Celebrities and Twitter: Not Always a Match Made in Heaven

When you are a public figure the world is a different place than it is for the Average Joe. Not only do you get the attention of thousands, first class accommodations, etc…you are also held to a higher public standard including the public space of social media. Unfortunately this is a notion many in the public eye have not accepted.

Social media has allowed our culture to take freedom of speech to the extreme. Despite T & C’s, there is limited censorship on social media. This is causing some serious issues to arise.

Be careful little bird what you tweet!

Be careful little bird what you tweet!

In journalism there is a risk to both the journalist and the employer if one takes advantage of social media to discuss content not aligned with the station. Reporters are fully aware of their expectations at work. They should view social media as a continuation of the work place and hold the same standards in this online environment as they do in the corporate sphere. In my opinion I view the behavior exercised in our lecture and reading material this week to be both inappropriate and unprofessional.

While many would argue this challenges freedom of speech when you are associated with high profile employers your content is ultimately a reflection of their views. I would encourage public figures to start private profiles where there professional life is not disclosed or discussed. Only close family and friends are allowed to view this profile. Otherwise, stop complaining and play by the professional rules on social media.

Then there are the instances when expressing yourself is taken to a whole other level…viva la Kanye West. Again, in my opinion inappropriate, poor class, and a terrible example for those who view him as a role model. It is not ethically right to use social media like Kanye did when he attacked Jimmy Kimmel for pretty much no reason. There really is no words to dissect this situation…just don’t ever act like Kanye on social media.

My interpretation of the Kanye West/Jimmy Kimmel Twitter encounter

My interpretation of the Kanye West/Jimmy Kimmel Twitter encounter

Bottom line: a public figure cannot have freedom of speech on social media like “normal” people do. While fame brings greats things to some people’s lives, it can also inhibit them from certain privileges others enjoy. In my opinion, not being able to express yourself freely on social media isn’t the end of the world for high profile individuals. There are plenty of us who choose to keep their opinions to ourselves online.

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The Boston Marathon Bombing: What We Can Learn

I was part of the ¼ of people who learned about the Boston Bombing from social media. Until recently (I injured cartilage in my knee) I was a very avid runner. I follow Runner’s World on Facebook and Twitter and received a push notification from their posts about the bombing. I immediately felt a personal connection to this act of terror and became absorbed in its coverage. Throughout the coverage of the Boston Bombing there was much speculation and misinformation spread, the truth was somewhere in-between.images

I found it very interesting that CNN’s incorrect tweet about the arrest of the suspect was shared more than the correct post. I believe people thrive on the drama, especially in an instance such as the Boston Bombing. Spreading dramatizations is more “entertaining” than no new information. In the case of CNN I believe they should have promoted the correct information more. From an ethical standpoint I would love to see our social networks develop some sort of technology to retweet correct information whenever misinformation is put out first. With more and more people using social networks as a news source I believe this could be pivotal in both accuracy and ethics.

While the news only discussed the Boston Bombings for what seemed like months brands began to recognize opportunities for their businesses from all the coverage. I generally support Ford. I like their cars and many of my family members drive their cars. That being said I was not impressed with their “thank you” message after the bombing. In my opinion this was very distasteful. Many brands sponsored the Boston Marathon and I’m sure their logos were on people’s clothing or in some of the images yet we did not see them advertise a “Nike, official sponsor of first responders” ad. It just wasn’t appropriate in my opinion.

Thank-you-BostonOn Facebook I often see people post images of sick people undergoing treatments. Many of the captions on these images will ask people to like for support. I don’t see a problem with these posts. When the Boston Bombings occurred there were a few posts like this floating around on social media. My feelings on this content aren’t changed by the fact that there were victims from the bombing in these images, my issue is that a reporter posted the image. I don’t know the complete back story of this post. If the reporter got permission from the victim then I believe it is okay to share, if they did not receive consent then it is inappropriate.

When tragedies arise the desire for awareness does too. People become very involved in the story and developments. We can learn both journalism and ethical lessons from our past. The Boston Bombings can teach us how to respond properly during the incident and the weeks after.

Social Media: Not a Bad Thing in the Workplace

SocialmediaworkplaceSocial media has become such an integral part of our lives that most of us don’t even realize we are on these networks consistently throughout the day. These instances are not just confined to our personal time, but often people access their social profiles while on the clock. Is this wrong? Are there exceptions when it is acceptable to be on social media while at work?

The work I do can often blur together. I constantly stare at computer screens and television assets. I am a firm believer that a ten-minute break every few hours helps my productivity and focus. I will often times take a walk, grab a coffee from the cafeteria or browse my social media accounts to breathe. These little breaks do not have a negative impact on my work performance. I don’t believe they are ethically wrong. Am I the only one that feels this way, especially when it comes to social media breaks?

#NickiatHSN

#NickiatHSN

In my field that majority of people I work with list their professions in their biography and often promote their shows. For instance, this past week we launched Nicki Minaj’s fragrance exclusively at HSN. Our whole beauty team was posting about it. We were so excited about the social media buzz surrounding it and our work involved in this amazing launch. In my opinion this created a greater sense of teamwork between my colleagues and me. Ultimately I do not believe it is a bad thing to talk about work on social media, as long as it is ethically correct (viva la Best Buy guidelines).

For this reason I do not believe it is necessary for corporations to be strict on employees for their social media use at work. The relationship we are fostering and the environment we are creating is a positive one that brings us closer together. I believe that is invaluable in the workplace. However, I do believe there should be some guidelines to have some sense of control over our fluid social networks.

I believe a great way for companies to ensure their social media policies are understood is to bring them up in meetings every now and then. I discussed in my reading response how my company does quarterly town hall meetings. In these meetings business needs and practices are discussed. I think this would be a great way for my employer to discuss our social media in the workplace stance.

Do you believe companies should be stricter about social media use in the workplace? Do you think social media can encourage positive behaviors?

The Ethical Dilemma: Social Media and News Reporting

I consistently check my privacy setting on social media (probably about once a month). People can learn a lot of information about you from social media. I want to protect myself and am selective about who I want to see my information. I believe this is important because of the situation discussed below…

In news reporting the phrase “no guts, no glory” holds a lot of value, at least in my personal opinion. There is a line in journalism that separates average journalists from devout journalists. Devout journalists are willing to go the extra mile and get information, to give their audience something different from other news outlets and to earn their trust.

I applaud these journalists. They put themselves in dangerous situations. They devote their whole lives to covering stories. Does utilizing social media make their stories better or is social media just a nuance in today’s culture that should be observed and not reported?

To me these seem like easy questions to answer. Of course I would use social media, I see it used in news stories all the time. The difference between these social posts and the one in question is that these posts are on public profiles. This is situation brings up a whole new arena of debate in social media. Mapplinks-Post-1

Seeing as the situation presented in this week’s lecture deals with murder I believe I would handle social media with extreme care. Like many mentioned in the debate I would investigate all possible resources before confronting the suspect on social media. I would see if we had mutual friends and try to attain as much information about this person from our “friends.” “Friending” this person and using their content would be the last thing I would do. It would not make me comfortable and I would let my bosses at my outlet know.

The great thing about social media and today’s culture is that we can learn from other’s “mistakes”. This is acutally a non-fiction incident that occurred back in 2009. The reporter of this story “friended” the suspect on Facebook, got leads, and then asked to interview the subject. The subject was upset and this made the reporter feel as though she used her new Facebook “friend.” She said she regretted using Facebook as a reporting tool.

What do you think? Is this reporter “soft?” Do feelings and ethics matter in reporting or is it all about the facts? What would you have done?

How can social media social media outlets help users control their content? I like that Facebook gives you the option to choose who you want to see published content. I believe they should make this feature more prevalent. I would also love to see them alert users more effectively when privacy setting are changes. For instance, make users look at privacy settings as the homescreen when changes are made and accept the changes before they are able to get to their newsfeed. This would force us to re-evaluate who sees what.

How can professionals learn how to use social media effectively but still respect privacy? I believe the murder story mentioned in this week’s lecture really put things in perspective to me. If someone has a public profile and willing posts content for all to see then by all means use it. If it’s private it remains private.

Why Data Mining?

Data-mining-graphicScary, creepy, invasive…these are a few words that come to my mind when I think of “data mining”. It worries me just how much information websites have about me just based on simple Internet practices I overlook (i.e. liking something on Facebook). In today’s culture I guess this is something I am just going to have to accept. But could companies be doing more to make this topic less scary for consumers?

I believe brands need to be upfront and honest when it comes to data mining. Many people have the wrong impression about this resource and what it’s used for. My parents are a prime example. They refuse to buy anything online, don’t use Internet banking, and don’t share too much information about themselves on social media. The harsh reality they refuse to accept is that even though they are very careful with their personal information companies are still practicing data mining on them. If companies made data mining less ambiguous and made it clear to users what was being done with their information and what information they were collecting I believe people like my parents would share more.

I completely understand the purpose of having data mining. If it can save me money, increase business, create expansion, detect fraud and lower my taxes then please be my guest to whatever information I can give you. It’s when companies are just collecting my information, not disclosing what they are gathering, and only influencing me to buy more products that raise some concerns for me. It’s not only a worry but an annoyance on many social media sites (specifically Facebook).

The Importance of Accuracy

bulls-eye

I can defiantly see how journalists can feel threatened by social media. When you think about it, anyone can be a journalist these days. Social media allows anyone to break news but is their news factual? Journalists need to employ tools to combat all of the noise on social media and hold the journalism “pledge”: report the facts.

I had never heard of geocodes before this week’s lecture and I have to say, they are so cool! Think of how many more sources journalists could if they used this tool. Better yet, think of how many sources they could check! With limited Twitter users enabling geocodes in their tweets I realize the limitations this tool presents. Hopefully more emphasis is placed on geocodes and it is utilized more in the future!

Another new concept presented in this week’s lecture: reverse search. The giant squid example proves just how important it is to check the validity of imagery on social media. I was unaware this was even possible. During the Boston Marathon bombing I saw so many images with extreme captions on social media. Seeing as this situation was a very extreme one the captions on these images seemed feasible. As more information came out the more I learned some of the images were just not true. When situations like these happen news outlets should take the time to investigate images so false reporting does not occur.

To answer the question posed in the lecture accuracy should be the most important priority for journalists. When news is breaking and journalists want to use social media to report it I think the best practices to still ensure accuracy are to use verified accounts and geocodes. Bottom line: if you can’t confirm a story don’t post about it. As our “Verifying Tweets When News Breaks” article states, it’s more important to get it right than to post it first. Trust is such a hard thing to gain with news viewers, why risk breaking it with a story that can’t be verified?

Sometimes mistakes happen…if a news organization accidently reports something that is not accurate I believe it is extremely important to address it, not delete it. Every once in a while when watching the news I will hear reporters correct themselves if they reported something that later proved to be incorrect. The same should be practiced on social media. Journalists should say sorry, report the correct facts, and post a link with a source verifying this information.

Bottom line: always verify and always be accurate.

Every Social Media Manager’s Worst Nightmare

dflaWe’ve all been to a restaurant before that left us wanting more. The lack of service, atmosphere, or good food can lead to a less than desirable experience. What do you do when this happens to you? Below you will find a hypothetical situation of an individual taking to social media to express their disgust and what I would do to address it.

“I am disgusted about the state of your store on 1467 Justin Kings Way. The counter was smeared in what looked like grease and the tables were full of trash and remains of meals. It makes me wonder what the state of your kitchen is?!!! Gross.”

Ouch…this is a harsh comment. From a business standpoint I would want to take this down, but sometimes leaving these comments up and responding publicly to them can show the audience that you care about each customer. I would comment on this post by saying “Hi there, Thank you for letting us know the conditions of our store. We are very sorry to hear about your experience. Please send us a direct message giving us more details and we will address the issues you have mentioned. Thank you, Alexis.”

Once I have left my comment I know there will be more left on this post. I have seen so many Twitter rants and Facebook comments go off topic and turn into other users fighting. I do not want that to happen on this post. I want it to be an example of what my company is doing to improve our services. I would let the conversation play out but as soon as obscene language or hate speech came into play I would jump back in the post and let user’s know we do not condone this type of behavior. It is one thing for people to say they agree with the disgruntled customer but to throw this type of language into a post services no purpose.

From one extreme to another, I’ve worked in television for about five years. During my reporting days I was taught to always report fair and balanced to avoid situations like this:

“Your reporting on the Middle East is biased in the extreme. You gave almost all your air time to spokespeople for the Israelis last night and there was no right to reply for the Palestinians. The conflict upsets me so much and your reporting of it, saddens me even more and makes me f**king furious.”

Wow, another  social media attack. This one seems a little harder to address considering the racial issues this viewer has. I would first respond to the comment by leaving one saying “Hi, we are sorry to hear you did not like our story last night. Our goal is to provide our viewers with fair and balanced stories. Please contact by direct message so we can work at providing you with a better story next time. Thank you.”

In our lecture it was noted not to respond in anger. As a reporter it would be hard for me not, considering we know the story was unbiased and accurate. I also believe user’s should not respond in anger so once I let the viewer know I saw this comment I would remove it from our page. Using obscene language is unnecessary and unprofessional. I do not want our viewers to be subjected to this.

How would you react to these situations?

Everything in Moderation…

As we enter week six of this semester it was really cool to see how our course topic build on each other. Everything is coming full circle. Ethics can be a complicated area but as long as you have an action plan for a crisis you can swiftly navigate your way through any situation without compromising your values or mission statement.

I loved that Justin pointed out that “our ethics don’t change, decisions might.” Social media can bring about some very interesting situations. Just when you think you’ve encountered or planned for every occurrence a new one can be thrown out you. I think the best way to respond to these situations is through moderation.20-75

I am all for monitoring behavior and taking down offensive posts on social media. I follow a lot of celebrities on Twitter and it’s crazy to me the amount of hate speech that occurs on their accounts. If I were in their shoes I would delete these comments because they cause a hostile environment. People get very passionate and before you know it there’s an all out war via comments when all that was posted as a picture! For bigger brands not addressing this type of hateful material could illustrate that they are condoning this behavior.  I wish more companies would think about the environment they have/create on their social networks and have ways to combat these issues.

Every social network presents different challenges. I am active on both Twitter and Facebook and have seen behavior explicit to these sites. On Twitter people are confined to 140 characters comments are short, rants are more controlled. In my opinion it’s easier to control “the fire” on this network because of the character limitations and the fact that posts don’t appear very long on user’s newsfeeds. Facebook is a different story…one can write a novel on Facebook! Information spreads so fast on this site and lasts for a long time on newsfeeds. Every time someone comments, likes, or shares it appears in the newsfeed. The more attention it has the longer it will be visible.

Considering these circumstances I would say it is the most difficult to moderate hate speech on Facebook. Knowing this should prompt page administrators to monitor their content and comments more. Social media is a very powerful tool in our culture. One bad comment left unattended can cause serious ethical issues.

If I Could Turn Back Time…The Importance of Reputation Management on Social Media

Have you ever had a really BAD experience with a company and took to a social network to post your rant? Have you gone as far as Dave Carroll and create a viral YouTube video?

It’s easy to forget the power of social media until instances like this occur. Dave’s video got him more than 200 interviews on talk shows and inspired other customers to create sequels (United Breaks Guitars 2 & 3) that garnered more than a million likes as well. Taylor Guitars also created a YouTube video explaining their repair services in response to Dave’s video. They even gave Dave a new guitar. It seems everyone but United acknowledged Dave…

From a social media perspective if I were an Online Reputation Manager and saw this video I would have gone into immediate damage control. I would have responded to Dave and asked him to write me a message explaining his situation, what damages he is seeking, and thank him for his time and for choosing United. I would have then addressed this with my human resources department and done everything I could to find out where the disconnect was and how the issue escalated to this.

Once I had all of the facts I would release a statement apologizing and explaining what we are doing to make it right for Dave. I would go on a press tour and explain to the media that we understand Dave’s frustration and are doing our best to make sure this instance never happens again. I would also take to social media and express our gratitude for their loyalty and explain how we are ensuring we are making the effort to handle every item in on our airplanes with care. Of course there will be negative comments surrounding our efforts. It is important to not make the same mistake twice and listen and respond to these comments appropriately.

While United Airlines may not have done it right in this situation I am happy that they used Dave’s video as a learning tool. If I were an Online Reputation Manager I would add the following practices to our social media practices:

  • Post our “hours of operation” in our “About Me” sections.
  • Make responding to customer comments within 24 hours a standard.
  • Make our responses personal by saying “thank you” at the beginning of every post and signing each post with out name at the end of each post.
  •  Most importantly if a situation seems very tense to make a supervisor aware. If a situation like Dave’s arises we would discuss on a more micro level and ensure all parties involved are happy with the resolution.
  • Keep “follow up” files for followers we should check in on.

While all of this seems so easy social media is fast and immediate. Most posts don’t show up on other’s social media feeds for very long, but people don’t forget. Taking the time to go the extra mile on social media can save you time, money, and most importantly the trust of your customers.

T’s & C’s of LinkedIn

In my last blog post I talked about Twitter and Facebook’s terms and conditions. After seeing some pretty interesting “rules” I decided to investigate other networks I frequent. With that said, let’s take a look at LinkedIn.

I love LinkedIn! Its great network that allows people to connect with each other based on professional interests. The possibilities the network presents its users are priceless! I’ve heard of people landing their dream jobs because of LinkedIn. But is this all too good to be true? Do the terms and conditions (T’s & C’s) negate this seemingly wonderful social media site?

I actually liked reading LinkedIn’s terms of service. It is outlined in sections, each featuring a summary on the side. These summaries make it easy for the user to clearly define what each section discusses. As I was reading the T’s & C’s I noticed a lot of similar qualities between LinkedIn and other social networks like Facebook and Twitter, especially in terms of content. Users own their content on LinkedIn but by posting on the network users give LinkedIn license to use their content. On other networks (i.e. Instagram) this has angered people. When we use these social networks we have to remember they are a business. They were created to make money!

The more I’ve investigated the “rules” of these social networks the more I’ve asked myself why people aren’t taking greater in action against the social networks. The truth: LinkedIn does not really care. According to the T’s & C’s: “You waive your rights to try to stop LinkedIn, but we don’t waive our rights to ask a court to stop your actions.” In their opinion you are a guest on the network. They can ask you to leave and won’t miss you!

Capture2

What I really found interesting in LinkedIn’s T’s & C’s were the do’s and don’ts. Maybe it’s because LinkedIn is used for more professional purposes but the “rules” didn’t seem too restrictive. There was the usual “don’t post fraudulent content,” “don’t use a fake name,” etc. If users suspect they are a “victim” of any fraudulent activity a way to contact LinkedIn in the T’s & C’s is available. This was reassuring to see.

CaptureOverall, I believe LinkedIn does a great job of preventing harmful or “risky” type of material to be posted to the site. If you request to connect with someone in the request you have to say how you know the person. LinkedIn also promotes the use of professional images and behavior. From my experience on the network that’s just what occurs. LinkedIn has done a great job of promoting themselves as a professional place and the behavior that occurs on the network illustrates this.