Thursday, April 24, 2014

Think before you hit “send”!

By: Scott Stein, VP of Client Services, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Wow. There are so many blog topics to choose from this week, I’m just not sure what direction to go.

I first considered the fake Twitter account in Peoria, Illinois. The satirical fake mayor account that portrayed Mayor Jim Ardis as a cursing, pot-smoking politician prone to hanging with strippers and hookers got the mayor so riled up that he sent the police to raid the account holder’s house. So far, no charges have been filed against the guy, but his roommate did get pinched for having some marijuana.

Then where was the story out of New York City. Now, we all want great interaction through the social media accounts we create, but the NYPD apparently didn’t consider all the possibilities. The NYPD asked people, on Twitter, to share photos of themselves with New York’s finest. Rather than getting nice photos of residents posing with police officers, they got thousands of posts mostly showing police brutality.

Then there’s the story of the Buffalo Bills and the number of texts they send to their fans. One fan, who signed up to get the team texts was so upset he started a class action lawsuit against the team. At issue, the team said it would send no more than five texts in a week and, at one point, the upset fan received 13 texts in a two week period.

The class action lawsuit ended with the team agreeing to pay $3 million. Nearly 40,000 fans who were part of the class action lawsuit will get debit cards for the Bills team store, while the fan who initiated the lawsuit will get $5,000. The big winner appears to be the fan’s attorneys who will be paid more than $560,000.

I’m sure I could find more strange but true stories from the instant communication world that we now live in. The bottom line, be careful when you’re planning your next move in social media; whether it’s a satirical “faux mayor” account that you think is funny, a “great” idea to get the engagement you’re looking for from Twitter or the promises you make in setting up an opt-in texting program.

Surely, there are more cautionary examples from social media. What have you seen or heard?

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