It is easy to dismiss what happened with Congressman Anthony Weiner as just another dirty politician, but there is a lesson here. For all of us.
Is it a lesson we have all heard before? Yes. Is it a lesson we all should have learned by now? Yes. Is it a valuable nonetheless? ABSOLUTELY!
Congressman Weiner sent a photo of himself to another Twitter user. Unfortunately this photo was of his lower half while he was wearing nothing but a flimsy pair of undershorts.
That was bad enough.
To make it worse, when Weiner was caught doing this he lied about it. He blamed hackers. He blamed the media. He blamed everyone else and denied any wrong doing.
Yesterday he confessed that it was indeed a photo of him and he had indeed sent it himself. He cried. He bawled. He begged forgiveness.
The fact is, he not only did something inappropriate, he lied about it.
When it comes to social media we need to be aware it is a public forum. PUBLIC. That means if you post it, people will see it.
Don’t think for one second that you can keep something on the Internet private? You can’t.
This is bad for politicians who need to maintain a public image but want to behave badly in private. It can also be bad news for your company, brand or online presence if you don’t properly manage your social media network.
Don’t take social media lightly. Congressman Weiner (and countless others before him) have taught us that. But it is up to us to learn it.
Many readers hail from outside the U.S., and you might be (blessedly) unaware of the controversy surrounding long-time Congressman Anthony Weiner, who has been caught sending lewd photos of himself on Twitter and other digital means to women who are not his wife. (And he does have a wife.) It’s been a spectacle fit for late-night comedians who have lampooned Weiner’s Pickle and made other equally high-brow jokes about the Congressman’s situation. But as digital marketers, are there lessons to be learned for us?
Long-time readers of my blog know that I don’t skew to political issues in these pages. I am an extreme moderate in my politics, usually bemoaning how neither party does anything according to the facts of the situation rather than their ideologies, so Congressman Weiner, who is a strong voice for liberal Democrats, was never someone that had a style that I appreciated. He is, by various turns, feisty, combative, and partisan, which he has every right to be. In fact, although that might not be my cup of tea, he has been until now a very savvy user of new media, amassing thousands of Twitter followers with his pugnacious style of tweaking those on the other side.
As a brand, Weiner has been focused, he has been consistently on message, and he has been effective. Until now.
I’ll leave it to the psychologists as to why a man in Weiner’s position would engage in such risky digital behavior. Obviously, the first lesson for marketers is that if you are going to be caught literally with your pants down, Twitter is not your best venue. But what are the real lessons here?
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