Social media integrity

Another day, another corporate social media gaffe. Another individual not associated with the organisation, or another account hacked. And apologies to anyone who was offended.

Really? Do you buy that?

Last night Liverpool probably threw away the Barclays Premier League title by blowing a 3 goal lead away to Crystal Palace. Shortly afterwards, the below Vine appeared on the official Tottenham Hotspur account, apparently mocking Liverpool. 

Vine

Naturally this was not the fault of the club who are now looking into security issues with their Vine account, adding that it was not tweeted by anyone affiliated to Tottenham Hotspur. 

TH denial

Whether this is true or not, it is very damaging to Tottenham Hotspur, not just because they have effectively admitted they have security issues, but whomever uploaded this in the first place, is hardly in a position to mock in the first place. 

When it comes to crisis management in social media, being honest and displaying integrity is the key to success. It may be true that the Vine account was hacked but it seems too well timed and planned to have been the work of a rogue hacker. I would presume that Spurs have a robust social media policy, strategy and reporting in place, which will surely be able to detect the exact time and ip address of the ‘poster’, which should confirm that the apparent hack was external. If this is not the case, and there is no further statement, and possibly even a restructure of the social media team, then questions will need to be asked of Tottenham Hotspur themselves.

If you do not post with honesty and integrity, and admit mistakes, you leave your brand exposed and lose a lot of trust and confidence within your market place. Is it worth the risk? 

 

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Social vs Media

Amongst the white noise spouted on social media about the death of Whitney Houston over the weekend, you may have seen a few bragging posts about the fact that the story apparently broke on Twitter 27 minutes before it was reported by a news organisation. 

Furthermore, last week both the BBC and Sky issued social media guidelines to their staff reminding them of whom they work for and that it is their responsibility to go through the correct editorial processes before publishing stories – i.e. they are not to break stories on Twitter, or any other social media platform for that matter.

Now, journalists may argue that they lose the exclusive by not having the ability to break the story online as soon as they hear it, however they have to remember who pays their wages (clue: it’s not Twitter).

Yes, Twitter is a fantastic communication tool but it is not a media organisation. But by putting too much emphasis on its ability to break stories ahead of the media is completely disrespectful to the media. Twitter has managed to get so big because so many news and media organisations provide it with content on a daily basis. Damage the media organisations in any way and ultimately you damage the validity of Twitter. Take away sensible thought and opinion out of Twitter and you’ll be left with hearsay and conjecture, and people abusing footballers.

Regardless of what you think of the media following the Leveson enquiry, we need to have a strong media as it offers validity, editorial control, and an independent voice which keep government, organisations and individuals in check.

Journalists may claim that the guidelines are unfair and restrict them in their ability to break an exclusive however internal checks and balances ultimately help the media maintain integrity, which considering the damage done by constant revelations of the Leveson enquiry, the media badly needs.

Without a strong and responsible media we’ll be left with a constant stream of breaking stories on social media, where the facts are dubious and rumour is rife. What would you prefer?