The internet’s long memory: Politics in the era of social media

The 2015 Canadian federal election campaign has been marred with a series of embarrassing gaffes and candidate resignations.

The most well-known example is probably #peegate, where Tory candidate Jerry Bance was caught on video urinating in a coffee cup and forced to step down in embarrassment. Another Conservative candidate, Tim Dutaud, was also forced to resign after videos surfaced of him making harassing prank calls.

But it’s not only the Tories who’ve been caught with their pants down — in the case of Bance, literally — here. All the major parties have been caught out in scandals during this campaign, with candidates being forced to step down due to Facebook posts, Twitter tweets and other offhand comments coming to light — some of which were posted years ago. From racism to sexism, from drug references to Nazi comparisons, a casual observer of this election would be forgiven for thinking that the only people running for leadership of this country are the worst of the worst of our citizens.

It begs the question: Have our political candidates gotten worse? Or has the internet’s memory simply gotten better?

Continue reading “The internet’s long memory: Politics in the era of social media”

The Shanahan videos: Lessons from the NHL on social media crisis management

Hockey season is back. And you know what that means, right? Yep, time for more what-hockey-can-teach-us-about-marketing posts. (Come on, you know you love them.)

This week, the social webs are abuzz with the series of videos being released by new NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, explaining each disciplinary decision being made. The videos, released after each controversial call, suspension or – conversely – decision not to suspend a player – explain, in a matter-of-fact tone, the reasons behind the decision.

Hockey bloggers and journalists are agog over these videos. Here’s why marketers should be paying close attention:

Continue reading “The Shanahan videos: Lessons from the NHL on social media crisis management”

5 tips for community managers

The list of job descriptions today that didn’t exist back when you were in school keeps getting longer. The job of Social Media Community Manager is one of them. Companies started up Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, YouTube channels, blogs and web forums because they were cheap and easy… only it turned out that it wasn’t so cheap or easy to manage and maintain them after all. Social media, when done right, is time-consuming. Chances are, the marketing manager or web guy already has a full plate of responsibilities, so the question arose: who’s going to be in charge of this?

Enter the Community Manager. Often, it’s someone with extra time to monitor and manage social channels. Increasingly, companies are realising that the low-paid intern is not the best person for this critical job, and are hiring professionals or self-styled experts. Some community managers are in-house full-time employees; others are freelancers who are hired on contract. The job of the Community Manager is to “engage” in social media spaces. Roughly, this translates into posting content to feeds, monitoring, replying and responding to things posted by the community members or the public at large, and keeping tabs on stats and metrics. Sometimes, though not always, community management includes customer service. Often, there’s an element of risk management or crisis management to the role, too.

If you find yourself – by design or by accident – in the Community Manager role, here are a few tips to help you make a success of it:

Continue reading “5 tips for community managers”

The things we don’t say

Social media is about honesty and authenticity.

Now, where have I heard that before? Oh, that's right, everywhere. People are more honest when they share their instant thoughts in real conversations. Posting a comment on a blog. Posting a review on a hotel ratings site. Posting photos of their cats on Twitter. It's all honest, right?

Except, not. Because we're all running scared of honesty. Too much honesty can come back to haunt us.

Continue reading “The things we don’t say”

Anonymity, compartmentalization or multibranding?

Are we seeing a trend towards more anonymity online? What are the implications of increased anonymity? Does being anonymous necessarily mean having something to hide?

These are some of the questions that Mitch Joel asks in today’s blog post: The Next Big Thing Online Could Well Be Anonymity:

The knee-jerk reaction to anonymity is that the person creating the content has “something to hide.” It’s logical, but it’s not the entire story. Some people simply feel more liberated to speak their mind knowing that who they are will not become a focal point within that discussion.

(Full disclosure: I’ve been working for Mitch and the team at Twist Image for a little over three years now. You’ll likely see quite a bit of content from the folks at TI on this space. That’s what happens when you’re lucky enough to work with smart people who write thought-provoking content.)

I think an excellent point has been raised here. And it occurs to me that we may be talking about the wrong thing. Instead of “anonymity” versus “transparency”, are we really not simply talking about compartmentalization? Or, to put it another way, a personal version of multibranding?

In fact, I think this is a particularly appropriate topic for the inaugural post of a new blog, launched by a person with a digital presence in quite a few arenas. So here goes:

Continue reading “Anonymity, compartmentalization or multibranding?”