Social Media: Can a Twitter Post send you to the Big House?
The answer is: YES.
As you read this post, there are probably a handful of twitter users, facebook updaters and linkedIn networkers who are causing an online crisis with their updates. Here is a small tip: keep the defamation and slanderous comments out of the social media environment. Social media is a wide-open field, meaning that there are more people to catch you when you make a mistake…and believe me…they will.
Many of us have the feeling that the Government can be a little behind the times. Well, that is definitely the case with the interactive Internet. As more laws are emerging, more confusion and chaos is being caused amongst social media sites. To tweet or not to tweet? That is the question. But isn’t it our right as Americans to speak freely regardless of the communication medium?
Let’s look at the recent story of Amanda Bonnen, a questionable defamation comment was Tweeted regarding the mold in her apartment and the fact that her building management company, Horizon Group Management LLC., felt that it was “okay.” Rocker Courtney Love, who is no newbie to the courtroom, was recently sued for libel for Tweeting negative comments about a famous fashion designer.
In a recent CNN article, the differences of the legality of public and private information comes into question. Where do we draw the line? What is considered slanderous content tarnishing someone’s reputation or a Constitutional right to speak freely about whatever you wish. What do you think?
When updating your Tweets or commenting in forums, keep this in mind to prevent any damages to yourself or your business:
- Don’t Tweet When Your Angry: It may sound cliche, but it is very true. When you are in a state of intense anger, you are less likely to make responsible, rational decisions. Don’t do something you are going to regret. If you are mad, take a breather and walk away from your computer. The longer you wait and let yourself cool off, the less damage control you will have to do.
- If it has your name on it, they are your words: Many people have staffers or outsourcers handle and organize their social media updates. Be sure to set down guidelines for your updates and be sure that nothing is being released, under your name, that can be incriminating or slanderous.
- Know The Laws and Abide By Them: Being ignorant to the law is never an excuse. Cornell University has posted Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in 1996 which pertains to Interactive Internet Communications. Make sure you, your employees and your clients know the rules and closely abide by them. The Internet is an enormous community, so don’t think that you won’t get caught.
- Be Generous and Graceful: Social media marketing should be fun and rewarding in many ways including the opportunity to get to know your customers, partners and market much better. If others overreact, give them a break. You can demonstrate leadership by treating others well and being helpful when things get out of hand.
Marketing in this new world is becoming more complicated because the rules are changing all the time. The other managment issue is in the “old days” you created and ad and then ran it forever…no changes or issues. Now you, and your staff, are creating new “content” every day. This is worth a training session with everyone who touches social media in your business.
Check out this post “10 Rules for Social Media Participation (for Employees)”. This is a great guide to review with your staff.
What say you about this issue?