Some of you may have been following the ongoing debacle regarding journalist Guy Adams (of The Independent), NBC, the London Olympics and Twitter. For those of you who haven't been keeping up with the latest news, the story basically boils down to a series of events that ultimately ended with a well-known and outspoken journalist being banned from Twitter due to requests from NBC.
Over the course of the last several days, there has been an immense amount of outcry on several social media platforms regarding NBC's coverage of this year's 2012 London Olympic events. At the center of many of these complaints lies Twitter, which has become a buzzing hive of discontent and outright hostility. Between Olympic fans questioning the quality of NBC's reporting on the Games to complaints over censorship, there has been so much controversy and talk of these issues that the hashtag #NBCfail was in major use for multiple days.
One of the loudest voices on Twitter was that of journalist Guy Adams, who at one point posted the personal email address of NBC president Gary Zenkel and direct users to spam his account. This ended up leading to NBC filing a complaint and Twitter banning Adams' account. According to the network's terms of service, it is against policy to post the personal information of others. Adams went on to defend that he obtained Zenkel's email through standard searches and that the address was easily found. Twitter stuck by its decision and has continued to leave the account banned for the foreseeable future.
The Power of Social Media
It's easy to focus on this whole sordid situation and miss out on a critical role of this story: Twitter itself. Social media companies have come to realize the power of Twitter and other social media platforms, but rarely do we see the full impact of these networks in such a stark and obvious way. With NBC's Olympic coverage a continued point of contention for many, there is far more attention being brought to the television network due to its programming than the Games themselves. What should have been a PR dream for NBC has now become a reputation management case.
Thus is the double-edged sword that is social media. Although every business aims to improve brand recognition through Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, not everyone sees a positive reception. As anyone who deals with online marketing knows, people are far more likely to speak out they find something that angers or has slighted them rather than to praise a job well done. In order to counter backlash and keep one's online presence a pleasant one, more corporations need to employ professional reputation management and social media marketers.
If you have any thoughts regarding the #NBCfail situation or simply want to know how to correct your social media campaign, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org