Social Media

Social Media Roundup: You Are What You Tweet

Another cautionary tale for association pros deeply involved with social media, regardless of whether the context is personal or professional. Plus: A police department takes to social like a duck to water.

The possibilities of social media are endless, both for associations and for employees using these tools. But the risks remain significant, and less-than-optimal wording of a single tweet can affect an entire organization.

One example in today’s Social Media Roundup:

What Goes Public Stays Public

A controversial tweet by an NPR education blogger serves as a reminder of the public nature of all social media and of the responsibility that every organization has to ensure its members don’t reflect poorly on the group as a whole.

Last week, Anya Kamenetz tweeted this: “I reach out to diverse sources on deadline. Only the white guys get back to me.”

The tweet sparked outrage on Twitter and prompted a response from NPR Standards and Practices Supervising Editor Mark Memmott.

Kamenetz said her tweet should have gone out on her personal account and shouldn’t reflect on her employer, but Memmott disagreed in an internal memo to NPR employees.

“In reality, Twitter and other social media sites allow us to show more of our personalities than we might on the air or in a blog post,” he wrote in a memo to NPR staff. “BUT, though the words may be on ‘personal’ Twitter or Facebook accounts, what we say can reflect on NPR and raise questions about our ability to be objective.”

And NPR’s standards apply to retweets as well, as media blogger Jim Romenesko points out from the news outlet’s Ethics Handbook:

“Tweet and retweet as if what you’re saying or passing along is information that you would put on the air or in a ‘traditional’ news story.”

The same holds true for associations using social media. Regardless of how private they may believe their accounts are, employees, board members, and volunteers should remember that if their remarks offend or agitate, they’ll reflect poorly on the association as a whole.

Getting Your Social Ducks in a Row

Duck of Justice

The small Bangor Police Department in Maine has created an unlikely social media star, a stuffed duck named Duck of Justice, that adds a touch of irreverence to the department’s Facebook page.

The duck watches sunsets, promotes a Paul Bunyan Burger Challenge, and shows how outside-the-box thinking can lead to social success, even when similar organizations have had a rough time with tech-savvy audiences. The NYPD was widely mocked recently for its efforts to drum up interactions with a #myNYPD hashtag.

That effort ended in disaster after countless people used the hashtag to file their grievances against the NYPD and to highlight its current and past abuses.


Morgan Little

By Morgan Little

Morgan Little is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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