There have been some really major social media mistakes.
Some have been blunders like a brand posting an awkward title or sentence. Maybe something with a double meaning that they didn’t catch.
Others have been celebrities maybe posting a photo that was more revealing than they realized.
Brands often are the ones getting in trouble. Some have schedule promos only to have something happen in the news that makes the promo seem mean. Like if people lost their feet to some crazy viral disease and a retailer did a 25% off all shoes promo.
Other social media mistakes are more serious. Someone becomes a celebrity and the media goes back well into their archives and finds posts that reveal something about the person’s character.
All kinds of things.
The question is…do these mistakes and others really matter?
The Reaction Seems To Matter
So much of social media is about the short-term. The news and content cycle is so fast these days.
A brand often makes a mistake, usually of the silly oops kind, and within a couple days hardly anybody remembers it. They’re on to the next thing.
Think back to a year ago…
Do you remember the big social media mistakes of the day or about the day?
We don’t remember that stuff.
We remember when someone brings it up. We’ll laugh and remember it being funny. Maybe we don’t really forget, but we kind of push it out of our minds and move on.
What seems to matter is the reaction. How the brand or person responds to the mistake.
Sometimes it seems the best is to just move on. Forget about it and move on.
If it’s the silly kind of mistake then making fun of yourself and not taking yourself too seriously seems to be the best way to handle it.
The more you try to make yourself look cool or protect your vulnerability the bigger it will get.
Kind of like the Streisand Effect. If the person or brand brings more attention to the mistake it can grow and grow and soon the reaction is more the story than the original mistake.
Character Revealing Mistakes
The ones that are interesting are the ones when people, seemingly athletes often, have social posts dug up from the archives from way in the past.
But nonetheless, the posts reveal something about the person’s character. Racism, sexism, ageism, etc.
All kinds of things that reveal the type of person they were and maybe still are.
The reaction to these becomes a big thing.
I was thinking back to some of these and for some of the people this has happened to it seemingly goes away. They focus on the future and proving their character with their actions.
People seem to ultimately pay attention to actions.
For example, if you said in a tweet when you were 17 years old that old people drive you crazy and shouldn’t drive and that kind of thing it can be seen as hurtful and wrong.
But if you now take that and start spending time with older people. Getting to know them. Helping them. Learning from them. It can slowly build up your reputation and your character and the entire journey can become a really positive thing. A learning experience.
Some things to take away that I’m thinking about even for myself…
If it’s a silly thing, don’t make it a big thing with your response. Don’t bring more attention to it. Forgive yourself. Laugh at yourself. Move on.
If it’s a serious thing. Find the reason people are upset by it. Have empathy. See it from other people’s perspective. Don’t bring attention to it with your words. Get to work on your actions.
People are forgiving as long as they see positive actions and character. And honest attempts to improve.
We’re all flawed. We all make mistakes. Even on social media.
Most of the time it’s no big deal.