During my first week at com.motion, I had the distinct honour of writing for the venerable “Touchdowns and Fumbles” email newsletter. I’ve been an avid reader of TD&F since I found out about it so it was a big honour for me.
Fumble Returned for a Touchdown
When a National Post reporter responded to a potential interviewee’s Twitter update about his abrasive voice message, the social media world got a timely reminder that everything you say can and will be used in evidence against you. David George-Cosh’s (@sirdavid on Twitter) string of expletive-ridden Twitter messages directed towards marketing consultant April Dunford were deleted soon after they were posted but thanks to Google and the quick fingered “ALT + PrtSC” (take a look at your keyboard) Twitterers following the online spat, his words are saved online forever.
However, April took this all in her stride and rose above the vulgarity. Ever the professional, she declared Twictory in the battle for hearts and minds by posting “Re-read what you have just Twittered. Then re-read what I Twittered. Deep breaths David. Calm.” This very public, very much discussed issue shows communicators two things.
One, always assume that what your write will be online forever and two, never, ever, respond to online trolls in a similar manner. Remain cool, calm and collected in the face of adversity. Or at least a raging reporter from a national newspaper.
Here at com.motion, we always advise our clients in similar situations to take a deep breath, step back and consider how what you may say will affect you, your brand and your employer. Follow April’s example and turn a Fumble into a Touchdown.
Postscript: George-Cosh certainly knew how to go out in a blaze of glory as he has since left these fine shores for a presumably more lucrative role in Dubai. Although I am sure they have Google in Dubai as well…
Just to expand on what this can teach consultants and clients alike: never sink to the online troll’s level. If the troll will not go away, or your choose to engage, always take the high road. Never get drawn into a tit-for-tat argument which will, invariably, include some sort of ad hominem attack and will surely be housed within Google’s index from now until perpetuity. When that happens, no one wins.
Edit – the post is live on the Touchdowns and Fumbles Blog.