The Social Snafu


There’s an old saying that goes, “no news is good news, and good news is no news.”  There was also a time in journalism when writers loosely followed this rule.  Shocking, I know.  This doesn’t mean that the new wave of social media is necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, it’s great; when it’s accurate.  Problem is, our society has grown impatient and so accustomed to immediate results, that even when mistakes are corrected; it is likely at least a few eyeballs witnessed the initial oversight.

Amateur bloggers are more likely to be in the clear following those little snafu’s, but we still underestimate the damage that can be done; even when there wasn’t malicious intent.  It is this kind of misinformation that can ultimately, especially in the world of sports, affect an athlete’s credibility and checking account.  Whether it be initial speculation as to why Tiger Woods “lost” control of his Cadillac Escalade or fellow partiers taking pictures of Michael Phelps allegedly taking hits from a bong at a college party, these stories create social media firestorms that have contributed to the loss of some major endorsement deals with their respective sponsors.  I’m not by any means condoning their actions, but I do think it’s unfair that athletes are always under a microscope (yes, I know they choose their profession) and have the potential to lose some of the things they’ve worked so hard for because some jackass at a college party thinks it’s appropriate and/or funny to post said pictures on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (you get the idea) accounts for all of their friends (and the world shortly thereafter) to see.

Those amateur actions become nothing but amateur though when you compare them to the individuals representing an organization’s image via social media accounts.  This became painfully clear for StubHub on October 5th, 2012, when one of their digital media account users wrote a Twitter post that read, “Thank fuck it’s Friday!  Can’t wait to get out of this stubsucking hell hole.”  I think someone forgot to log out of their company Twitter account and in to their personal account; and proceeded to get fired the following day.  Unfortunately, I’m certain mistakes like this occur more often than we realize.  Fortunately, the end result (or aftermath) isn’t always as damaging to an organizations reputation.  It is ironic that Bleacher Report can write a story called The 5 Worst Stadiums in All of Major League Baseball and people laugh because they know it’s true.  Yet when the Angels Baseball Twitter account (yes, user error again) makes comedic observations about Padre fans and Petco Park on the company account instead of their personal, it is seen as offensive because it’s a message “from” the organization, not the individual.  This just tells me that it wasn’t a big deal to the Padres organization and it shouldn’t be a big deal for you because you’ll have to dig pretty deep on Google or Bing if you want to find this blooper.