Saturday, February 2, 2013

How To Social Media Crisis: A Sort of Guide

First, what is a social media crisis? It's really just when someone or some organization's bad behavior goes viral and they have to do damage control to save face and reputation and such.

The term "going viral" is fine, or "throwing a shitfit on the internet". So why "social media crisis"? Because when I called out Autism Speaks for plagiarizing me, they sent a guy to my blog to try to do damage control, on Twitter, all of that. His real name was there, & like a good little net native I looked him up. The job title his google+ said he had? Social Media Crisis Manager. This is the height of hilarity to me. So. Social media crises, we all are.

So. Someone did something shitty, and you want to make sure the world knows it? How do you do this?

0. Build networks. You need to do this before shit goes down. Networking, autistic, not exactly synonyms. But the key here is not just that you have a decent sized network (quality counts here, folks): it's that the people in your net have different circles from you.

Having multiple friends or contacts from multiple kinds of interests? That works to your advantage here. My atheism friends and my autism friends and my dance friends do not all know the same people, who in turn do not all know the same people. So anything that I say that they care about enough to pass on? It's going to be passed to people who didn't already see it from me.

A note on this, though: If I expect people to care about my shit, I have to care about their shit too. So don't just randomly add people just to have people. A degree of mutual interaction makes it way easier to spread the signal once things go down. Someone doesn't have to understand why I am annoyed and finding something exclusionary to pass it on anyway if we've interacted enough that they care without a doctoral level understanding of all the issues at play.

Good places to build the sort of network needed for good shit stirring are internet forums, social media like facebook and twitter and tumblr (omg tumblr), listservs, and real life contacts are useful too. But we're talking internet shitstorms here. Places you can connect with people.

1. Write up what happened, what makes it wrong, anything not wrong about it (if applicable), and post that shit somewhere public, like a blog. Somewhere with a permalink and not password protected. You want people to see it.

2. Post it to social media: tumblr, facebook, twitter, google plus. If you're posting about a company, hashtag (#tag) it on tumblr and twitter. You can hashtag the name of events and individuals too.

2b. Advanced users: On twitter especially, you can get the attention of people with way bigger following than you have by sending it to them: @username will plop that where Username will see it. Not all celebrities or semicelebrities are all that discerning about what they retweet, and plenty who are will get behind good shit.

2c. You might end up with people defending their shit to you on tumblr or twitter. Be ready for this.

3. Get your friends to pass things on as well. Usually friends share things, but I cannot emphasize enough that a social media crisis is a collaborative effort. I cannot throw a big enough shitfit all on my own to make change happen, and neither can any of you. Encourage your friends to post, tweet, share, reblog, et cetera. most of these things are super easy in terms of spoons-click a button and it's done.

4. Be relentless. This is the hard part. I get annoyed with myself asking the same "soooo you find any of the at least 100 adult autistics I personally know who are interested in your subject area? You look yet?" questions of people like Orycon day after day after day. But if you shut up they think they won. Fuck that. If you annoy them enough they have to respond, and if you annoy other people following them enough, they will respond. Being annoying is my superpower and I have learned to embrace it for this.

5. Be merciless. Know what you want. Refuse to back down. Make every communication public. Every last one. Remember this Orycon post? ALL the correspondence. And without it, they would have just been "oh whatever, an annoyed little bratchild", I am pretty sure. There's much less "xe said, ze said" when it's all posted publicly on the damn internet. They can say you're as unreasonable & hostile as they want, but when you already posted exactly how unreasonable and hostile you are? The bite kinda goes out of that one.

6. Do not go quietly into that dark night. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It's exhausting.

6b. Your friends & allies should be helping you with the rinse lather repeat. If you have a strong network you can bucket brigade it, pass it on around. No one should be trying to do this shit alone.

7. If you are really loud and persistent, they will want to talk to you. Do it in a way that is accessible to you. If they want to Skype and you don't talk on phones, tough shit for them. If you need a support person, take a support person. You are doing them a favor by trying to resolve things.

8. Know what would resolve things. And go get it.

9. Enjoy your "Social Media Crisis" merit badge. And a good long nap.


Anonymous said...

"No one should be trying to do this shit alone."

Yet that is exactly what the "community", so-called, and just about everyone I know in real life, expects me to do. It is, as you say, exhausting. The passive, "nice" folk are the curebies' wet dream, because no matter how far the curebies push, no pushing back ever comes from them. Leaving people like us with all of the responsibility to point out why frightening us so is not acceptable behaviour. It is completely exhausting. I am starting to get sick from it, myself. I wish you luck. I really do. But I fear that the people that the like of you and I should be fighting are really those who think they are us, but are not.

Danni said...

I was reading this, and thinking about how well it correlates with how the Spartacus Report people (disabled people in the UK fighting against government cuts to benefits) have been getting things done. And they've got things done- only concessions in most cases, but they're fighting against the government.

I admire anyone who can manage this sort of fight. I can only do the very basic- retweeting, posting on Facebook, due to being rather poorly. But those who push it and keep pushing until things get done, even to the point of ending up ill or in hospital in some cases, that is properly inspirational. Not the "living a normal life as a disabled person" crap.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I find a lot of fault w the way people use social media bit for cooking up a shitstorm against public persons, companies or orgs who mess up badly, it is a fantastic, efficient and fast toolset :)
I am still struck by the job title of the dude from as though.. They must be messing up a lot