By Ezra McCann, Senior Account Executive
I know the title of this blog may throw people off, so allow me to preface by saying I am a huge fan of social media. I post on Facebook and check my Twitter feed constantly throughout the day. It’s a great tool for reconnecting with old friends, networking and promoting your business or brand. I think social media is, arguably, the world’s single greatest innovation of the past decade. That said, it pains me to see people use social media tools irresponsibly.
Some of the worst offenders of irresponsible social media use I’ve heard of were employees of a restaurant in Atlanta that used Facebook and Twitter to bash a customer. Apparently the customer wrote a less-than-flattering review of the restaurant on yelp.com. Instead of finding out why the customer was dissatisfied with her experience, they took the time to find her Facebook profile photo and posted it on the restaurant’s Facebook and Twitter pages asking other area restaurants not to serve her. The postings ended up going viral and were reported by CNN, the Huffington Post and just about every local news outlet in the country.
Did the employees think through their actions? Did they understand the negative publicity that would follow such an outrageous posting? Obviously they didn’t, or they wouldn’t have performed such a heinous act.
During a speech at the NFL Rookie Symposium last year, Herm Edwards, the former head coach of the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and now an analyst at ESPN, coined the perfect phrase for athletes to think about before using social media: “Don’t Press Send.” Before pressing that button always think about the ramifications that could follow once your message is sent. In today’s social media age, you must remember the tweets you send affect the public’s perception of you and your brand. Most importantly understand that when a message is sent, there is no turning back. You may be able to delete the post, but you can always find a snapshot of it on the Internet.
Immediately following the news reports, the restaurant deleted the post and sent an apology to the woman. But by that point, the damage had been done. I’m sure they wish they’d taken Herm’s advice.