How to handle current events in a professional and timely manner.
Social media has changed so many things about our world – particularly in the areas of ease and speed.
You can interact with peers, audiences, and consumers easier and faster than ever. You can share information and news at lightning speed, getting your audience news and updates in the blink of an eye. Thanks to advertising on social media, you can also expand your community and get your brand to reach distances and new eyes like never before.
However, all this combines to change something else – expectations.
Consumers expect instant information and gratification. As soon as big news breaks, they want to hop on Twitter for instant analysis. When they complain on your Facebook page, they want you to respond to them right away.
This is problematic when it comes to blogging about current events. The pressure to be the first to be talking about current events has ushered us into an age of “hot takes.” As bloggers race to social media to get their word in first, they sometimes leave a trail of misinformation in their wake. Not only do these practices often lead to a misinformed audience but it can also land you with egg on your face.
Take news mega-giant CBS for instance. In their haste to be prepared to be the first to cover an emerging story, they accidentally released an embarrassingly erroneous headline that went viral before it could be taken down.
The Facebook Data Breach
We went through this internal debate at Roundpeg not too long ago. Of course with the Facebook data breach and Cambridge Analytica conquering the Facebook and Twitter timelines, Lorraine and I wanted to address the topic.
“When do we talk about Facebook?” was the question we had to ask ourselves. The potential impact all this news could have for our peers and clients was unavoidable and a topic that needed to be addressed. But, truth be told, there wasn’t much to say at the time. Speculation on change was a-plenty, but facts were less plenty. But, in this age, the faster you jump on a story the more clicks you’ll get – the longer you wait the more you risk being overlooked.
So, where do you draw the line? We ultimately decided to wait until the Zuckerberg hearings to blog about Facebook and include the topic in our weekly podcast. To this point, there was enough truth and information available for us to comfortably and accurately discuss the topic with our community. While we may not have gotten a spicy “hot take” out there, but we did have an informed conversation on the topic.
What does this mean for you?
Maybe you’re thinking about blogging for your company or you already do and you are trying to be a better blogger. Although it may not be something as big as a social media giant’s data being compromised, there may come a time when what you do and current events coincide. Maybe it’ll be a product recall? Maybe an economic or political change will have direct implications on your product or service?
Whatever that intersection may appear as, when something like this does happen you’ll have to have a similar conversation to the one we had about Facebook.
Before you blog, post, or comment on the topic you must consider all the current facts and the potential implications of addressing the topic. Is there incomplete or unconfirmed information? Will your audience suffer (either from confusion or misinformation)? How will it make you look if new information comes to light?
Facts outweigh all the other noise as far as I’m concerned. The temptation of speed and ease are powerful, but being a better business owner and better blogger should take you above all the noise.