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PHILosophy on Donald Trump

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FAKE & FRAUDULENT … Crazy Joe … low I.Q. Crazy Mika …

I think you may know from whose mouth these attacking words have come. Pardon … from whose tweet these insults have come. But what do they have to do with us? After all, Donald Trump is a world away from us here in Perth…

He may be, but he has given us some lessons to learn.

Social media – whether it’s a tweet or a post, whatever – it is profoundly changing the communications landscape. In fact, the societal landscape.

And I have no doubt that the American President’s prolific and intemperate use of it is simply getting all the publicity because … well … because he is the most powerful man in the world, and he doesn’t take a backward step. He attacks those who attack or disagree with him.

From time to time, other cases of the abusive use of social media do make it public … some of them tragically. I can recall the case of young Phoebe Prince, who took her own life after prolonged cyber-bullying by classmates.

Kids are so vulnerable these days. From a very early age, they are computer-literate and roaming around the internet and social media sites. And they are not resilient enough to withstand some of the abuse and threats that may come their way.

When I was putting my thoughts together on this I did a little research: Facebook has 16 million users in Australia; Twitter has 2.8 million active users each month; Snapchat has 4 million active users DAILY!

And here we are in school holidays when, apparently, social media use increases.

Momentarily I will go back to the start and President Trump. He believes these capsule messages that he sends out achieves one major thing: they go straight to people and cut out the media which, in past communication practice, has been able to take a lengthy media conference and interpret what reporters believe was being said.

He’s right, and understanding that has significance for us in business.

The Big Impact of Social Media

The last Sensis Social Media Report … hold on; wait folks. Heck! With all this research, I earned my money for today’s little epistle.

Sorry for the little diversion; now back to Sensis which reports that “Social media is one of the only digital avenues where businesses can have a two-way communication with customers, giving them the opportunity to receive feedback, monitor sentiment and build a relatable brand personality.

“They can do all of this with minimal marketing spend, making social media one of the easiest and most cost effective channels to get in front of customers.”

So, in a nutshell, that’s the business case for social media. Here is the full Sensis report.

But back to my theme … remember, there is also a dark flip side to social media … and it can destroy your business.

Law firm Clayton Utz has published a guide to social media risks and opportunities for business and says: “The disparagement of businesses by employees and third parties through social media is prevalent and affects businesses across the globe. Where it attracts media headlines, a conduct of this type can be very damaging.”

The firm’s guide includes cases of social media harassment from major organisations like Greenpeace against companies to one-off’s like the campaign by a dissatisfied customer of a country car dealership.

And it seems that legal remedies can be too much, too late.

So let me finish with the thoughts of the man who invented the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who believes the system needs a re-think.

“How come nasty, mean ideas, seem to have traveled more prevalently than constructive ideas on Twitter sometimes? Is that the way it has been designed? Could Twitter be tweaked?”

Friends, I think we need to come up with answers to his questions … in business and in life … because to let social media degenerate further would be a sad and damaging outcome.

Thanks for staying with me; till next time, take care.

Cheers, Phil.

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