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The Dark Side Of The Twittersphere

I had a chat with a client yesterday who is still unsure about setting up their Twitter business account, based on their view that it represents a ‘faceless, anonymous vehicle for anyone to respond in an annoying way’ (a tough one to respond to!).

It’s been very public in the past week with @Rileyy_69 tweeting disparaging remarks to Olympic diver Tom Daley with the, ‘you let your dad down I hope you know that,’ comment to a teenager who lost his father last year to a brain tumour.

Twitter has now become a stream of consciousness, where the anonymity of the web allows people to say whatever they want, when they want, purposefully trying to upset people. But the case for business use of Twitter is that it still represents a real-time connectivity with the world/customers/prospects in your industry.

There will always be people who could pop up from time to time looking to unsettle with hurtful and downright illegal comments, but if this happens to your business, consider these three questions:

  • What are they talking about?
  • What audience to they have?
  • Will the comment be seen by many or a small handful of people?

If someone is writing complete nonsense in a place that not many people are going to see, the simplest thing to do is to simply ignore (and block them) and not react, as the whole purpose for a ‘troll’ is to crave a reaction and generate attention.

For SME’s, one individual’s inflammatory remark does not constitute a crisis for a business. If you operate with integrity and are able to respond in a coherent way, this is not a crisis. A crisis emerges when a conversation escalates and reaches a level you want to, but cannot control.

The explosion of social media faces many new challenges for businesses, the police and the judicial system, as we all look to become accustomed to a new digital age and ways of communicating. It’s here to stay!

In answer to my reaction at the top of the article, by anyone tweeting with not wholly constructive comments, I would say don’t ignore everyone, but consider what is and what isn’t worth a response.

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