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Sometimes fire should be fought with fire. However, the decision to respond to a social media crisis in the media must be made with the greatest of care. Media responses put the entire dispute on public display in an attempt to sway public opinion. If not executed correctly, this can backfire and attract more negative attention than it extinguishes. Media responses can be through mass media outlets, such as television and newspapers, or through social media outlets on the Internet. Often a media response will enlist both mass media and social media in a coordinated effort.
Mass media responses can be very effective when dealing with an issue of broad public concern. Having your issue appear on television or in print can add legitimacy to your point of view. The trick is getting mass media outlets to pay attention. It helps if you understand how the mass media news process works. You must gain access to their decision makers, then provide them with a compelling story, plenty of visuals, and enticing interviews. When you hand them everything they need, they will find it difficult to pass up. It is all in the "pitch." Keep in mind that mass media outlets have their own agendas. You may want them to tell your story but they may end up twisting your words for their own purposes. Do not take everything a reporter tells you at face value. Look through their vague statements and leading questions to see where they are going with your story.
Social media responses generally begin on the same social media platform where the dispute started. Rebuttals are made to accusations or counterclaims are made to claims. If the social media response includes a counter attack, there is a high risk of a social media feud developing. When someone pushes you, it is human nature to want to push back. The harder they push, the harder you want to push back. Eventually, someone pushes too hard and crosses a legal or ethical line. Once that happens on social media, you can't take it back.
This is why the greatest care and deliberation is required before undertaking any media response. There is a significant risk of responses backfiring and causing the opposite of the desired effect. Someone who at first appears to be a victim can become the aggressor if the media response is too strong. All media responses must be well conceived, expertly executed, meticulously monitored, and constantly adapted to shifting circumstances. None of this is possible if anger and frustration dictate spontaneous responses with little thought to the long term consequences. Unemotional third-party, expert advice is highly recommended before contemplating any media response.
Media responses can also be effective reactions to real world situations. Perhaps you had a bad consumer experience and want the world to know about it. You could leave a review on a feedback website like Yelp or talk about it on Facebook or Twitter. Your opinions are your own so, as long as you are honest and not defamatory, there is little risk of legal action against you. However, if you decide to raise the stakes and call your local television consumer reporter or whip up a viral social media vendetta, then you run the risk of retaliation or legal action. There are legal rights and responsibilities on all sides that must be taken seriously. Proceed carefully.
If the situation warrants, also consider a Confrontation or Legal Action.
All information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Ninomiya Law, PLLC and Kent Ninomiya only provide legal advice to clients when there is a valid engagement agreement signed by both attorney and clients. The principal office of Ninomiya Law, PLLC is located in Round Rock, Texas. Ninomiya Law, PLLC is responsible for the content of this website.