“It was only when a local dive group posted a screenshot of the comment on its website this week that the company got widespread criticism, said Mrs. Chan” (No Shark’s Fin Products At FairPrice From April: Manager Responsible Sacked, Mr. Darryl Nanayakara).
Poor comprehension of social media and its corresponding characteristics – as highlighted, once again, in an episode revolving Singapore’s Thern Da Seafood in the report “No Shark’s Fin Products At FairPrice From April” (January 6, 2012) by Mr. Darryl Nanayakara – has considerable ramifications. Negotiating the social media minefield is especially important; if users are blinded by the host of advantages and fail to install coherent methodologies for its employment, it could do more harm than good.
My experience with varying online platforms has empowered me with some first-hand insights; suggestions that can be used to maximise effective social media outreach.
Have a sound, long-term plan for usage. Engagement through social media platforms does not stop at creation or fundamental publicity outreach; instead, it is imperative for representatives to devise long-term, sustainable proposals. I run a number of public awareness campaigns – including a project rallying against eating disorders – and the team has to consistently explore fresh strategies to create meaningful discourse amongst the present community, and simultaneously expand the size of the groups. These plans are constantly amenable to change, and reflect on-the-ground expectations, realities.
Have multiple moderators. One of the reasons why the Thern Da Seafood incident was badly mishandled can be attributed to the observation that only one person was in-charge of the account’s maintenance and activity. On the FaceBook page for the United Nations Association of Singapore (UNAS), a number of shortlisted moderators are appointed. Not only has such arrangements eased administrative moderation and injected diverse content or perspectives, multiple inputs from different people, it has also provided constant checks and balances to ensure that the information is accurate and responsible.
Conscientiously vet and review everything to be posted. It is dangerously convenient, with the Internet’s spontaneity and instantaneous interactivity, to publish a post on a channel without proper attention dedicated to vetting, reviewing and fact-checking. Bear in mind this painful reality: whatever goes online stays online. From a straightforward status update to a lengthy note, everything warrants due attention.
Honesty and sincerity. Above all, social media are but tools for communication; naturally, honest and sincere dispositions are very much appreciated in cyberspace. Online users accept the contention that mistakes or slip-ups are inevitable; nonetheless, they expect administrators to be frank and forward-looking. Saying sorry is not the end of the world; rather, it is an opportunity for one to close, reflect, and move steadily forward.