It doesn’t solve problems.
In this case, though, we can learn something important by looking at where the fault lies for the KitchenAid tweet. Most everyone is missing the point. When someone accidentally tweeting on behalf of KitchenAid showed the world how poor their judgement is, it was KitchenAid’s brand that suffered.
How easy is it for someone to tweet from the wrong account?
Pretty. Freaking. Easy.
So, what’s the problem? Fire the person who did it and move on.
The comment wasn’t appropriate. But, having worked in the financial community for a long time where off color jokes are pretty common, I could see how someone would say something like that and think it funny. Social media has changed the perception of off-color humor. I don’t mean to analyze how right or wrong the tweet itself was. At best, it showed a clear (and total) lack of judgement.
Does firing the person who made the mistake repair the brand damage?
Does it even serve the company if it was a good person who made a bad judgement call about something they thought was “personal”?
Here’s the thing. IT needs to provide technology that:
- helps companies get the job done,
- complies with all regulations, and
- minimizes risk to the business.
How does letting employees connect directly to Twitter, Facebook, or whatever from their phones meet that mission? It’s a short-cut to accomplishing #1 above, but completely ignores #’s 2 & 3.
Do you realize that part of the Secret Service’s job is to help the President avoid embarrassing situations? They’re protecting the office, as much as the President himself.
Creating such a platform is not hard. Let me help you visualize how something like this might work using one of my current favorite apps – BufferApp. From their website,
“Buffer makes your life easier with a smarter way to schedule the great content you find. Fill up your Buffer at one time in the day and Buffer automagically posts them for you through the day. Simply keep that Buffer topped up to have a consistent social media presence all day round, all week long.”
Let’s have a look. Buffer lets me connect to my various accounts, type a status once and have it sent where I want it. You’ll see I connect to three separate platforms to satisfy my narcissistic tendencies.
In Buffer’s case, posts are not immediately sent. They’re spread out at various times over the course of the day.
Let’s think about how Buffer works. I enter a status. It gets stored somewhere. On a schedule each status is sent to whatever venue the user has selected.
What if instead of sending it on a schedule, it first requires “approval”. Let’s say they exposed the queue of outbound messages via a browser UI, and required someone on the team other than the author to release it from the queue before it was scheduled?
That would certainly prevent impulsive tweets to the wrong account.
You might say, that would inhibit conversation… so don’t required approval for @ replies, presumably someone who is replying is logged into the right account.
Let’s take that even further. The company could then persist (log) each outbound status update, along with the author and approver, for compliance. This could be really useful in regulated markets like banking or pharma.
What if you then created (a feature/abstraction around) a campaign that contained status updates… then you could track compliance and results by campaign as a whole. Something you can’t do if each employee is tweeting, face-booking, or whatever from their own apps. You could actually build an internal social media marketing application / social media campaign command & control dashboard. (In fact, this is what some of the big boys are doing for just these reasons.)
Of course, a company could then create their own internal social (end-user) app to connect this governed infrastructure and could make sure people are trained properly before being able to represent the brand on social media. Without much difficulty, that would be the defacto way for interacting with social media as a brand representative, totally eliminating any risk of accidental brand damage.
Remember, it’s not about the employee who makes a bad decision. It’s about mitigating the risk to the business and brand as a result of a chaotic implementation of technology. And that, people, is the responsibility of IT.