Blaming Social Media is Always Bad PR
[By Jason Mollica]
Do a Google search on blaming social media and you’ll find nearly one million results. They range from social media being blamed for your bad mood to the 2011 London Riots being blamed on social nets. Social media is an easy punching bag because many still view it as the new kid on the block.
Social networks have taken the world by storm. First, it was a fad; then it was emergent and, finally, mainstream. Many people and organizations are on board with using social. While it is widely hailed as helping to transform the way we communicate, social communication has become somewhat of a target or crutch when someone needs to place blame.
Earlier this year, Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver blamed social networks for his struggling team not being able to compete. Sarver said:
“I’m not sure if it’s the technology or the instant gratification of being online. But the other thing is, I’m not a fan of social media. I tell my kids it’s like Fantasy Land. The only things people put online are good things that happen to them, or things they make up. And it creates unrealistic expectations.”
While this isn’t the most egregious violation of blaming social media, it is an example of the lengths people will go to place blame on social media for their own mistakes. Sarver blaming social for his team’s issues is akin to me blaming my kids for not making dinner when I said I would in the first place.
Social media has become the punching bag for those who don’t really understand how powerful social is today. In this day and age, you need to fully grasp that your words and actions are magnified by social. Something that used to be a benign comment can be overblown very quickly. It’s not all social media’s fault; be responsible for what YOU do and say. Here’s how.
Don’t use social as a crutch. “I didn’t mean to post that,” “If I didn’t have a Twitter account, I wouldn’t do things like this,” or “Social media didn’t get my sarcasm,” are crutches that you need to throw away. They are excuses. You and you alone have the power to control your actions and virtual words. Period.
Understand what social can do for you. Social media is responsible for something of the biggest news events becoming bigger. Remember U.S. Airways Flight 1549? What about the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound that netted the Al Qaeda leader? These are examples of how social has changed news reporting, gathering and dissemination. It’s also become the place where brands make major announcements. With great power comes great responsibility. Social media is a great responsibility.
Know your role. The more you understand how social works, the better off you will be when using it. If I post something and someone takes it the wrong way, that’s on me. I didn’t explain it well enough in 140 characters, or clearly in a Facebook post. Just because you don’t have a blue-stamped check mark next to your name on Twitter, or have a million followers on Facebook and Instagram, does not mean you aren’t being listened to closely. Your role in social media is a big one, whether you believe it or not. Appreciate what social is and what it has become.
Facebook is over a decade old; Twitter is ten years old. That’s still very young. However, social media has come a long way in that time. You need to understand that before you go placing blame on a social network for your words. Be better with social and you’ll appreciate the benefits.