Silran's Playground

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Social Media Minefields

So what happens when you get someone like Kevin Smith (and a Twitter user @ThatKevinSmith) who you may or may not know was asked to get off of a Southwest airlines plane for being "to fat".
Kevin used his twitter account to recount the events transpiring:

A PR nightmare for @SouthwestAir (also on Twitter) and while you might say, "Well what did they expect? It's Kevin Smith!" That shouldn't matter and doesn't matter, not in this day and age of Social Media awareness and REACH.
What happened? Well Southwest a fashion (read about it here:

Again, it's Kevin Smith right? What bone heads right? Right. But like I said above does it matter that it was Kevin Smith? Hell no! It could have been anybody! Some people on Twitter have upwards of 1000+ people following them, and of those they might have some 1000+ people as well, that is REACH.

That Southwest handled that incorrectly was irregardless of who they are and who they slighted because in the end it could have been anybody with enough REACH into the Social Media ether.

That knowing it was Kevin Smith might have stayed their hand in how they handled it could have saved them this embarrassment...but it wouldn't save them from an Internet known person, one who thousands of people may know online but exists in relative anonymity in the real world. In a sense similar to the Matrix movies or the Shadowrun games where one may be an incredible within the Matrix but a "normal" outside of it.

As Mashable pointed out this has in a sense created a minefield for companies, because you could have a "persona" on board who if treated wrongly (whether it was perceived honestly or not) could let a whole slew of people know just how much you suck, and they'll tell two friends and they'll tell two friends and so on and so on...

Companies who believe Social Media to be "fluffy" who don't take it seriously may laugh or not "get it" but the fact is they should, if they don't then I guess they get what they deserve.

I can only imagine how events might have changed at Sensory Sweep if people had used Twitter or Facebook to post the way the company was treating them, would they have changed their attitude, their policy?

Would an artist looking to get hired on to a "Sensory Sweep" withdraw his application? Would he warn other artists?

Would a company doing business with a "Sensory Sweep" think twice about continuing a project with them, knowing the possible negative impact it could have in Social Media circles?

Tweeting, despite how much some people may know hate it, is a viable tool for getting oneself across to a vast potential of people, whether your a company or an individual. In the hands of the right person, this "tool" can be a companies worst nightmare. Their choice in how they respond is then consequently watched (especially if they are hooked into the Social Media network) to see how it will be handled.

This phenomena, this "fad" will only go away when we no longer have computers and we have returned to the pre-Computer Age, until then watch out for those land mines.

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