Successes and failures spill over into social media. But they are rarely social media successes or failures. They are successes or failures reflected in social media.
Consider the following examples and assume traditional media, not social media, was used.
- Ashton Kutcher: What if Ashton Kutcher had made his statement about Penn State and Joe Paterno on Jay Leno? Ashton had a media problem that stemmed from commenting on something without all of the facts in hand, not from social media.
- Kenneth Cole: What if the CEO’s infamous tweet was a quote to a journalist that was printed in The Wall Street Journal or an ad that was run in Esquire? Kenneth Cole’s social media problem was the result of poor judgement, not social media.
Alternatively, consider Todd Akin, the Republican hopeful in the Senate race in Missouri, now facing calls to step out of the race following a “legitimate rape” comment during an interview. Shortly after making the comment, “legitimate rape” became a trending topic on Twitter.
Looking at Twitter, one would say Todd Akin had a social media problem. Stepping back, obviously his problem is far larger than just social media.
The Real Social Media Problem
Today, thanks to social media, it is easier than ever for individuals and companies to put their problems on full display. Or, as Amber Naslund so eloquently said it on Twitter:
Don’t forget. You can be an “authentic” jackass, too.
— Amber Naslund (@AmberCadabra) August 16, 2012
When your shortcomings are displayed for all to see on Twitter, through your own shortsighted comments or the comments of others, your problem isn’t a social media problem.
So stop blaming social media. Instead, pick up a mirror, take a long look at the problem, and start changing it.
Do we have social media problems, or problems reflected in social media? Share your view in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).
Photo Credit: You can’t see me by FranUlloa on Flickr