Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bitten by Boorish Behavior

Our reality entertainment fueled and social media infused culture had made competition for the spotlight considerably more intense. Pop artist Andy Warhol most likely never imagined the depth of desperation some would regress to achieve their fleeting 15 minutes of fame.

Consider parents Richard and Mayumi Heene who tricked the nation into believing their six-year-old son was in harm’s way trapped inside a renegade balloon.

And then there is the tale of social and political impostors Tareq and Michaele Salahi who crashed a White House state dinner as part of a play for a reality television program.

Although a disturbing trend, I assumed this boorish behavior was the domain of rogue individuals seeking unearned attention. That was until I stumbled across this story of a semi-professional basketball team tricking its community into buying game tickets.

Utah Flash owner Brandt Andersen acknowledged in his blog that their promotion of an appearance by Hall of Fame player Michael Jordan “didn’t go like any of us had hoped.”

Perhaps that would be because Michael Jordan never confirmed his attendance at the event. He never even acknowledged the invitation.

The lesson here for organizations employing social media marketing is that the tenets of acceptable corporate citizenship always apply. Be honest and transparent. Respect your customers, employees, investors and vendors. And never sacrifice your reputation for a little bit of interest and fame.


Robin said...

It's amazing how many people act without thinking about the long-term implications on their reputation. It's one thing if your ENTIRE reputation is premised on boorish behavior, but look at someone like Tiger Woods. His reputation is (was?) based on respectability, dignity, and the like. And that's all flown out the window.

It's the whole "act now, think later" phenomenon that, in some ways, is made worse by an Internet crazy world and sites like Facebook that can -- and often do -- make your boorish behavior immortal.

Anonymous said...

It's mostly because we are a country obsessed with banal stupidity and blinded to the catastrophe that is our national character.

Sandi P said...

Just returned last night from a trip to Narita, Japan and Singapore. The level of respect, modesty and courtesy was a breath of fresh air from what has become a complete lack of manners and civility in the US. As I have taught my now grown children, " manners are not taught in every home". They should be.

MrDZYN said...

Once upon a time, journalists had editors. That kept the promotional possibilities for these kinds of shams more limited.

Now, we're all journalists (via social media), and the few credible editors left are in a dying print media industry.

It's up to us, collectively, as to where we'll go next.

If we want more responsible media content, we'll (as in the mass-market) have to switch to consuming it in lieu of more juicy tabloid fodder.

Will it happen? Let's just say Rupert Murdoch, who started out with tabloids, now owns the Wall Street Journal.

It doesn't look good, does it?

Tony Loftis said...

I think we have to start out by realizing what passes for mainstream news these days is really entertainment. The rise of opinion shows on news outlets like Fox and MSNBC shows that we don't want information as much as we want to be amused.

As for the rise of TMZ, people have always wanted a window into the salacious, but until lately most people resented having that spotlight turned on them. Sadly, reality television has not only made us a nation of gawkers but actors in a terrible play.

I can live with the party crashers. That's funny, and no one was hurt or had anything stolen in the episode, except maybe the vaunted reputation of the Secret Service. It's the liars that should be punished and hung by their tongues.

Robert said...

I enjoyed your artical. I think as communications professionals we first and foremost must act as the "first line of defense" for our organization and also help our senior executives resist succumbing to some of these ridiculous and damaging tactics for short term pr gain. I have also found that as society has an insatiable appetite for this quasi tabloid news and the news is willing to lower itself, we have to do more blocking and tackling than ever before. It is no longer about just "positioning" or getting your message out. Organizations must have on their pr staff the unique skill set of issue management expert.

Andrea B said...

An alarming number of people mistake the information spewed from opinion-based news commentators for real news and accurate information. Many who mistake commentary for news are from a generation that grew up with the evening news and the morning paper, written by journalists with editors who insisted on three sources to even run a story and one source had to be on the record. The inability to tell the difference between news and entertainment is an honest mistake, made by honest people who have been misled and don’t even realize it.