What This World Needs Is a Few Social Media Spin Doctors

As lucky as I am to have ongoing work, I am vexed by the ongoing high unemployment in our country and around the world. But I’m sensing an opportunity for those well-versed in etiquette and facts: Social Media Spin Doctor!

While the job title implies an advanced degree, what it actually requires is simple common sense and an ability to balance the immediacy of social media with a firm grip on the facts. As I see more and more social media interaction every day, I see the need for this growing. If we’re all our own spokespeople, publicists and
publishers, then we also need handlers.

I say this, in part, of course, because of @aplusk’s Twitter-gate, which involves the very unfunny story of the reason Joe Paterno was forced to resign from his long-time coaching position at Penn State. @aplusk, also known as Ashton Kutcher, manufactured a tweet the other day which basically indicated Paterno’s firing had
something to do with performance, not realizing it was actually because of a sex abuse scandal. What followed were a series of recantations and apologies, ending with Kutcher’s decision on how to handle his Twitter thumbs from this day forward.



According to the always reliable New York Post: “An embarrassed Kutcher announced yesterday he would be handing his Twitter feed over to people at his production company.

‘As of immediately I will stop tweeting until I find a way to properly manage this feed. I feel awful about this error. Won’t happen again’ he tweeted.”

Of course, that sounds antithetical to the social media ethos, as Kutcher is not a corporation who should be in the business of planning and scheduling his tweets. On the other hand, I see a need for hand-holders on a broader scale, as management of one's personal brand, even on a much smaller level, is affected by the ability to publish
whatever you want, to as many people as you want, no matter how inflammatory, inaccurate or misguided it is.

Like many of you, I’m at various points horrified and amused at the social media mishaps I witness every day. Particularly cringeworthy status updates cause the following thought to go through my head: “Hey, social media newbie, what you need is a house call from a Social Media Spin Doctor!”

So this column isn’t just about Kutcher, it’s about the social media collective. In recent months, I’ve been particularly fascinated by a Facebook group that has sprung up in my community. Much of the content, and the cause, is worthy, but the tone tends toward the confrontational. That isn’t always appropriate and
can destroy community instead of build it, especially when some confrontational assertions have minimal grounding in the facts.

Since I write about social media, I follow the group at least as much because it’s a window into how social media works in the hands of people new to it, as I do because I’m interested in the group’s cause.

A good Social Media Spin Doctor would teach the moderators how to conduct themselves and also give members, in general, crucial insights into the reality of how information gets distributed even when it’s originally posted in an allegedly private group.

When there was discussion recently about whether a certain member of the community should be accepted into the group, it didn’t seem that everyone grasped the fact that posts were making it into the broader community anyway. With the kinds of topics discussed there, it would be shocking if they didn’t.

Who would pay for all these Social Media Spin Doctors? I’ve no idea. Which is why I’m a writer, and not an economist.

3 comments about "What This World Needs Is a Few Social Media Spin Doctors".
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  1. Jay Oconner from World Colours Network Inc., November 11, 2011 at 2:21 p.m.

    Could not agree more. And guess what as the world's first Transmedia Brandcasting Catalyst I can tell you we have a plan to use monetized streaming video to create just that a new revenue stream that can be shared with the 99%. of Americans and be positive for the 1% as well. So this is indeed a great start to monetizing Social Media and 11/11/11 a Great day to be a Transmedia Brandcaster. We will be providing great opportunities for Advertisers and Fans to connect with their Transmedia Storytellers and existing Content Owners, Studios and Stars who are already merchandising for Corporations. Transmedia Brandcasting is good for Wall Street and Main Street as Customers are rewarded with the Greatest Customer Experience in Entertainment Ever. The ability to share revenue from clicking and buying and recommending.

    Far from Rocket Science but The Ultimate Customer Experience is being able to pay your Bills. Those Advertisers who understand that and the technology will receive an invitation to instantly sell you something from a Music Video, a Television Show or even a Movie WITHOUT commercial Interruption, Pre Roll or Pop Up ruining the Online Viewing Experience. Great Article. Catherine and very timely. Check out my blog for Transmedia Brandcasting Businesses that you can sign up today to start generating revenue from Daily Deals and Triniti Communications which will allow you accomplish exactly what I have shared in the post. Build a Transmedia Revenue Share Community for you and your family today. And stay tuned as this industry unfolds.

  2. Daniel Soschin from Speaker & Blogger, November 11, 2011 at 2:21 p.m.

    The problem is that many companies place their social media management in the hands of immature (young) employees. These young employees may understand how to 'use' social media, but they lack the understanding of how to manage the risks of social media, and the business implications. Social media needs to be managed or supervised by highly experienced business-savvy individuals to maximize the ROI and minimize corporate risk.

  3. Cathy Taylor from MediaPost, November 11, 2011 at 2:38 p.m.

    Hi there,

    Sorry about the spam comment, people. Daniel, the organization I referred to at the end of the story is not a professional organization, but a local Facebook group started around local issues. So no managers at all.


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