Leadership / Management | Technology & Social Media

Social media’s promise: Be nice, or pay a price


The problem with social media isn't loss of control, or the ROI mystery, or privacy, or time management.

The real problem is this: In a social world, you can't fake it.

Humorist Dave Barry puts it this way: "A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter is not a nice person."

In other words, if you're combative by nature, your true colors tend to shine through sooner or later.

Thanks to social media, we're learning that lesson over and over and over. Cooks Source. United Breaks Guitars. Kenneth Cole. Chrysler. Ashton Kutcher. People continue to speak without thinking ... without realizing that, in today's world, everything you say is on the record and open for debate.

Paul Christoforo is the latest example. The magnitude of his social media mistake is seemingly surpassed only by his own ego. Anyone who believes the crowd should cut him some slack because "ultimately I’m not a bad guy" doesn't understand the world we're living in.

You're not a bad guy? Prove it by treating your customers -- all of your customers -- with dignity and respect. Telling an impatient customer to "put on your big boy hat and wait it out like everyone else" is a recipe for disaster in today's social world. Christoforo is learning that the hard way.

What's the lesson here? Simple. Be nice. All the time. To everyone.

And what's wrong with that? As lessons go, you can do a whole lot worse.


Bill Sheridan