Closing twitter would not protect tarnished reputations

Interesting suggestion – but I would suggest that, from a reputation management point of view, it would be a disaster. I can see it now, “The Footballer who Killed Twitter” – “The Banker who stopped you having Facebook Friends.” Those names would not remain secret for long – and the individuals would probably be pilloried wherever they went (no matter what the law says, you can’t silence the football terraces).

A judge might even rule that it is in the public interest to know who is taking out injunctions to close down popular (and dare I say it, useful) internet services. While voters would probably chase out of office any politician supporting such measures, assuming we are still allowed elections.

That said, it’s puzzling that anyone can get an injunction to protect their family from public humiliation brought on by their own behaviour. If someone honestly wants to protect their children from shame, they will not behave in a shameful way. It seems a bit rich for those who behave in a sleazy, unthinking and selfish manner to then plead with a judge that they are now thinking about their children’s or wife’s feelings. “You should have thought about that first.”

Various judges have ruled that such revelations are not in the public interest. One recently concluded that publication would not “prevent the public from being seriously misled.” This seems perverse. Consider a famous person who uses their reputation to promote high value products (for a very large fee). The public, to some extent, judges the value of those products on their impression of that famous person. So isn’t that famous person (and possibly the brand they represent) misleading the public if the image they promote does not reflect their true character?

The so called “great and the good” seem quite happy to wallow in public exposure when it suits them, picking up titles and sponsorship contracts as they go, but get all coy when that exposure turns critical and the adulation turns to ridicule.

Perhaps a better way to solve this problem would be to ban ALL mention of these famous people in any publication; to ban the use of any photograph of them anywhere; to ban them from all public appearances and pronouncements. In effect, to confine them to their own little world where people still pretend that they have a reputation and family life worth speaking of – and leave the rest of us in peace to enjoy twitter and facebook as we please.

PS: Failing an outright ban – perhaps the press could help protect the privacy of the rich and famous by blacking out ALL references (names and images) to any anyone with an #injunction. That’s right – black out their names in any reports and black out their (red) faces in any pictures. Or judges could simply give anyone seeking an injunction a black balaclava.

How do you judge engagement on #Twitter?

Here are some thoughts on how to judge engagement on social media, particularly twitter. I originally posted them in reply to a post by Gary Dickenson (@GaryDickenson on http://www.creospace.co.uk/blog/2009/12/why-you-cant-base-twitter-success-and-expertise-on-stats/) and another by Sean Clark (on @SeanEClark’s blog http://seanclark.com/social-media/roi-in-social-media-taking-the-numbers-out-of-the-equation/) -their original posts are both worth reading.

Engagement means more than having lots of followers, as I have been saying for ages (well since last year). Just because someone follows you doesn’t mean they actively follow you (how can anyone genuinely follow 1000s of people). This habit of automatically following back is a particularly bad one. You should only follow people who interest you.

I follow people who engage with me (positively) – and who don’t fill their tweets with swearing (bit of a prude on that one). I also follow people who I see regularly getting RTs from other people I follow (and whose opinion I value). This is purely personal but I think businesses should apply a similar line of thinking.

Furthermore, I think the best way for a company to judge it’s influence is to look at the number of @ replies it gets – the number of @ tweets it sends in response (rather than the simple broadcast statements) – and, most importantly, the number of RTs it gets (either automatic or modified – MT).

In fact, I think MTs are particularly important indicators, even when a negative comment is added, because it shows that the person sending it is interested in the subject and wants to engage at some level. However, it is vital that the company doesn’t just leave the MT hanging – they have to reciprocate – acknowledge the MT and respond positively – in other words engage, wholeheartedly.

What do you think? Am I right – or is there a better way?