Bizarre. Yesterday, I just had a great abject personal lesson on what NOT to do on Social Media.
I had made a pic of a shut down mall kiosk yesterday, stating how relieved I didn’t buy into it. The previous franchise owner, a former client of mine, had tried to get me to buy into 1 of his kiosks and when I changed my mind (gut was warning me there was something hidden going on), he ended up closing it apparently.
Well, a friend asked me about why I was relieved and I mentioned that the parent company was bankrupt. Suddenly, some guy suddenly made some comment about me being liable in Twitter and so on.
I had no idea what the heck this was about, but as I had just made comments and posts about a local politician, Ric McIver and his association with a notorious anti-LGBT ultra-right christian agenda, I said that I stood behind my words (re: McIver). This stranger then basically accused me of spreading lies and was slandering his “company”.
Ok, that piqued my interest now. I took a looked at Google to see if this guy’s name would show up… and to my surprise, it was the PRESIDENT of the parent company. I then replied to the guy with the link to the CBC story that stated that his company was bankrupt. He then went on about how this was all lies and implied that he was going to sue me.
I then asked him simply for an updated story or a link that the CBC reported wrong. Instead I still got a comment implying legal action. As I wasn’t about to listen to an online bully, I requested again for info and so on, but nope… now silence. I’m wondering if he realized that he himself may have gotten himself into trouble or that he was satisfied with his efforts to try to bully me, or that he was now planning to sue me (if he does, this should be a fun circus as he really doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on).
I’ve since had a few friends mention about how surreal that was and wondering what the heck was in this guy’s mind. All I know is that I’m especially sure that I have no intention of ever going near that company’s products if it was the last provider of that service on Earth.
SO let’s go through the lessons here….
1st – You do NOT use your own personal account. And read the context. This man is definitely implying legal threats here.
The pic I took and the surprise veiled threat
2nd Lesson – You do not CONTINUE to make veiled threats or believe that you’re so huge in the world that people know who the hell you are. Honestly, I argue and talk about dozens of topics in a day. Without being specific, I had no clue what the hell he was talking about. Oh, and the “Ahh…” post? I just punched in his name in Google and the identity of the guy appeared on LinkedIn.
#3… Look, sometimes a person gets it wrong. But if you’re going to make serious legal threats over something that based on what I know at the time from news stories, the least you can do is prove the person wrong. Reply with a correction. I’m not too ashamed to say I got it wrong but I would like some proof instead of just the empty claims of a guy obviously trying to bully me. But doubling down isn’t the best reply ever.
#4… Never assume that this is an entirely private conversation. Now, this guy comes across as a lunatic to more than just me. I find out that at least 2 more people were following the thread. So much for public relations…
#5. If you’re going to defend your company, make sure there isn’t say….. dozens of news stories from the CBC, Financial Post, Globe & Mail, Blog Posts and so on repeating and confirming that your company is bankrupt. More importantly, you might want to be sure you’re not on Industry Canada’s official page with direct listings of the Ernst & Young papers filed stating you’re bankrupt.
So what did we learn here? Well that company loyalty is fine and well, and circling the wagons is an understandable tactic, but to do so as the company PRESIDENT using your own personal Twitter account and attacking each and every person who states what is public knowledge… well, it definitely reflects seriously badly for the company. He is right, you are accountable on Twitter for what you say. But in this case, the real fight isn’t in a legal courtroom, but in the court of public opinion.