Social media can provide great platforms for celebrities to interact with their fans and businesses to interact with consumers. But before you start investing time and energy into setting up a Twitter chat using a specific hashtag, consider what can go wrong. Call it the Robin Thicke effect.
Thicke has taken heat for misogyny in the “Blurred Lines” song and music video. He’s garnered a lot of media attention for his relationship issues with his wife Paula and attempts to win her back. All of that means hosting an #AskThicke chat this week was, at best, questionable. The Internet can be an unforgiving, quick-to-snark place and this hashtag was blood in the water. It opened the door – as all social media encounters do – to uncontrollable input and it went right to the heart of Thicke’s issues: perceived sexism, alleged infidelity, marital woes. Offering a hashtag just consolidates all these comments into one easy-to-read list of clever, harsh and memorable jabs.
A perfect example:
What form of sexual or emotional abuse will you be normalising in your next jaunty hit? #AskThicke
— Scriblit (@Scriblit) June 30, 2014
A Twitter chat can be a useful strategy to connect with an audience. But you have to weigh the risk-reward ratio and consider the fact that the platform will open you and/or your business to ridicule. The chance of that is greatly reduced if you’re an uncontroversial person – but not if you stand for something the audience dislikes or have public issues. (Just #AskJenny!)
Likewise, your industry can also be a big determining factor. For instance, the public is still not fond of many Wall Street banking entities after the government bailout as 59 percent of people buy into the perception of Wall Street as an industry dominated by greed and selfeshness. Those types of institutions are better off maintaining a straightforward social media approach. On the other hand, if you own a small business that doesn’t leave much room for controversy, such as a local ice cream parlor, hosting a Twitter chat to discuss new flavor options or a planned expansion is a lot easier to keep positive.