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Social media storms this week, and the need to think before you Tweet

By Tim Prizeman, Director - Kelso Consulting (Public Relations agency)

The perils of social media storms have been prominent this week.

At the inconsequential celeb end of the news, Coleen Rooney's implicating fellow Wag Rebekah Vardy in allegedly leaking of stories from Coleen's "private" Instagram made it onto this morning's BBC Today programme and most of the nationals.

As always, the quality media sneer at the tabloids... and then happily sink to their level when they want to. The moral of the story... even private social media aren't that private when you are in the eye of the media.

One of the downsides of social media is illustrated by this week from America: users sometimes lose all sense of judgement.

In this hilariously extreme example a company ironically called "Kickass Masterminds" demonstrates prying, puritanical and downright nasty behaviour by asking for a job candidate's social media links, then publicly attacking her for having a photo in which she dared to look alluring in a bikini in a swimming pool with friends. 

It all shows how wrong it can go when otherwise seemingly sensible people make a colossal misjudgment. What should a company owner do once she has made such a grievous error of judgment?  Apologise profusely.   A least it has done this, but the damage has nonetheless been done:

They are hardly the first person to make this mistake and cost their business a fortune, as this UK law firm Baker Small demonstrated when it gloated over its victory against parents fighting for extra care for their Special Needs children. Notably, three years on, the firm still appears to have no Twitter feed, no doubt fearing re-establishing one because of the toxic environment they inadvertently created.

How to avoid such problems. Well having long policies and sign-off procedures would prevent these while rendering the channel useless simultaneously. While it is easy to be wise after such events, if everyone followed a few simple rules the online world would be a much better place:

- don't Tweet when tired, emotional and/or euphoric

- don't Tweet and drink

- definitely don't Tweet when angry

- if doing the above, first get the perspective of a responsible adult and even then sleep on it

- if it paints you in a poor light, still don't do it

- can it be misconstrued or misinterpreted? If so, don't post it

- will it stir up a hornets' nest? If so, sleep on it several times before posting

- is it about Brexit? If so, for god's sake don't Tweet it as we're all sick of them and you have nothing new to say on it

You can click here for more details on the Daily Mail website on Coleen Rooney who has developed a reputation as a media detective  

Topics: Crisis, PR Disaster, Social Media, Reputation

Tim Prizeman, Director - Kelso Consulting (Public Relations agency)

Written by Tim Prizeman, Director - Kelso Consulting (Public Relations agency)

Director of Public Relations agency Kelso Consulting. We specialise in working with B2B tech companies, management consultants, financial and professional firms to help them build business-winning reputations. We do this through award-winning PR skills and a proven approach to creating high-impact thought leadership campaigns. I am the author of The Thought Leadership Manual: