The terrible events in Japan over the past few days have affected many of us. A lot of people have been using social media to share information, discuss the tragedy and find ways to help those affected. And some have used social media in ways that make you want to bang your head on the table.
So let me repeat three very simple points about social media that people and companies should ALWAYS bear in mind:
1. Cause precedes effect
Offering to donate a sum of money to disaster relief if people “Like” or retweet your brand is magical thinking which puts effect before cause. Donate the money first and that way people will “Like” and retweet your brand because they respect you.
2. There is only one world
If you or someone in your organization uses social media to post something stupid or offensive in a public space then it will be heard by the entire world. This is not about private vs. public but local vs. global. Once uttered it is there forever and for everyone.
3. Write then edit
If you have to explain a tweet then you are either trying to describe something that simply cannot be done in 140 characters or you are assuming knowledge on the part of the reader when you cannot safely make that assumption.
The basic rule for social media is the same as the basic rule for life – think.