How a single tweet can damage a company's reputation...

A recent article in the Toronto Star identified a 'bed bug' infestation in a prominent Toronto theatre. The Scotiabank theatre is located in downtown Toronto
and will be a key venue in the upcoming Toronto Interntionational Film Festival (TIFF) where thousands of reporters, film critics flock every year.

This blog post is not about TIFF but about the importance and damaging effects of how twitter can a) spread news and b) become damaging press for a high profile venue/event. We have come a long way
since the days of press reports and e-mail in order to spread news.
(Some companies still insist on issuing press reports - however this is
becoming quite passe in this modern age). With social media and social
networking, a single event tweeted by a single ordinary person located
in Toronto (just because she was itchy after watching a 2 hr movie) can
spread like wildfire across the internet. The news was tweeted in
Toronto (just 140 characters!) and almost in overnight fashion, the
news spread virally to many high profile publicists in the Hollywood
Reporter and other film magazines. One tweet even attracted the
attention of Cameron Bailey and Peirs Handling
(the 2 co-directors of this year's TIFF) in which they had to put a
public statement stating now that the Scotiabank theatre is 'bed bug
free' in order to 'save' the festival.

Its kind of crazy the world we live in. In today's world where information is passed so quickly and 'like lighting' one tweet can damage a person (or a company's) reputation. The power of social media
is strikingly convincing in today's modern age. Right now, anyone can
complain about any organization through twitter and within minutes,
that company's reputation can be tainted and damaged. Surprisingly
enough, it does not even depend on the credibility or reputation of the
individual but it can be just one ordinary person just like what
happened in TIFF.

Bottom line: Companies should be more careful on how they construct their social media strategy. They should pay close attention and be cautious at the same time on who controls their twitter / facebook and
linkedin accounts. Why? Because just 140 characters can cost a company
large sums of money in order to save their reputation that they tried
to build for the last 15 or 20 years. Just look what happened at TIFF!

Views: 484

Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on September 1, 2010 at 8:46am
Wow interesting
Comment by Akiode Segun on September 1, 2010 at 3:10pm
Great post! Thanks for sharing. Cheers
Comment by Karen Swim on September 1, 2010 at 5:59pm
While I agree that companies must have robust programs that include monitoring, response and damage control there is another component in this equation. As publishers we all should be held accountable for what we say. The single tweeter owed it to the establishment to be factual & one wonders if she brought it to the theatre's attention first or simply tweeted because it sounded entertaining. Everyone who spread the false info then becomes culpable. We do have the power to ruin a brand's reputation all the more reason to carefully consider what we are sharing and hold ourselves to a higher standard.


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