Social media can be an effective tool for most people. In the field of public relations, social media has become wildly popular with full job positions dedicated to planning and executing a social media strategy. While most of the known world has jumped on the social media bandwagon, if not used properly, it can ruin a person or brand.
Depending on the level of fame, celebrities can run their own Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. accounts. On one hand, it makes their communications more personal; people feel connected with the individual, not just their Twitter feed. Cory Booker runs a successful, personal Twitter account and really converses with people. To find out more about how he does this, check out my post here.
In some situations, celebrities running their own social media accounts becomes a PR nightmare. By the way, I define celebrity on Twitter by having the blue check mark next to your name. Take Manti Te’o for example. Here is a young man with a world of possibilities ahead of him. Yet, because of an alleged phantom girlfriend and her fake presence on Twitter, his reputation is tarnished. His assumed girlfriend’s Twitter name changed several times and it appeared that most of their communications were through social media. What a very public forum for a very private part of someone’s life. It’s true, all parties involved should have known better than to publicize personal details on social media. But, if everyone wasn’t so obsessed with this medium, would any of this have happened? It is almost required for college and professional athletes to have a Twitter or Facebook account. That pressure from fans could cloud someone’s judgement.
Twitter blew up yesterday during the inauguration. There were specific accounts filled with inauguration information and live feeds of coverage. One account even tweeted the majority of President Obama’s speech in case someone missed it. Yet, with all of the positive information streaming live yesterday, a reporter made a comment that President Obama was tweeting during church. A tweet was sent from his personal account @BarackObama while the first family was attending church. Now this is where people need to use some common sense. Do we all really think the President runs his own account?! I’m sure he approves the content and might send a tweet or two. But in reality, he’s paying some lucky individual to manage his account. So his Blackberry was absolutely not out during church yesterday. Michelle would have known of that.
Social media comes with a certain level of gray area. No one can be 100 percent certain where tweets are coming from or who is actually tweeting. For PR professionals, it is essential that client social media accounts be monitored diligently. Regardless of who is managing the account, the PR team or the person, everyone should proceed with caution. One wrong tweet, post or picture could damage a reputation forever.