The Huffington Post
December 13, 2011
By Mitch Joel
Brands and popular individuals have done a great job of mucking up their reputation via social media.
It’s something that is not going to end anytime soon, either (sadly). Whether it’s a Weinergate or Kenneth Cole choosing a bad time to promote a new line of clothing, this has less to do with people and their unfamiliarity with social media as it does with understanding media in its entirety. The traditional process of formulating a message for the world to see used to involve layers of involvement from different divisions within an organization and then a conversation with the gatekeepers (traditional media) to get that message published for the world to see. Sadly, 2012 won’t see any fewer mishaps, blunders and public embarrassments because human beings are emotional and irrational (when they’re acting emotionally) and now anyone with a basic smartphone or Internet connection can publish their impulses live and in real-time.
There are not enough NDAs and social media guidelines to stop this.
In the pre-social media world — one controlled by a handful of media outlets — it would have been harder to have these kind of foibles and mishaps. We have to remember that media has become a lot more like conversational talking than in the past, when media was mostly a pre-recorded platform (or — at the very least — one with a 10 second delay). If you have ever spoken publicly, think about those moments when something pops into your brain and you know you should not say it aloud, but it still comes out and all you’re trying to do is reach out into the air to grab those words and shove them right back down your own throat from whence they came. It’s easy to delete a tweet or a blog post, but sometimes (and thanks to Google cache), it only makes the matter worse.