It is interesting to see how people are using social media these days – from connecting with friends back in high school and having a virtual high school reunion to conducting business transations and networking with other professionals to sharing information with other people that they know. However, there are other not so nice activities that peopel are deciding to participate in. For example, it appears that one blogger was threatening to write a bad post about another person at BlogHer if they would not give her a free pair of Croc shoes. So in other words, what we are seeing here is Blackmail 2.0 – people are making threats to others and saying that they will post or write something bad about another if they do not get what they want. Or how about ex-employees that are angry that they were fired and want payback, so they go online to these social media sites (ex. YouTube) and post something negative?
These are all issues that public relations professionals now have to deal with. Blackmail and these negative publicity antics have been around for years – and the only thing that has changed is that they are now being conducted through this form of technology. However, I do believe that these activities are really reflecting bad on the reputation of the person that is doing this. I am just amazed that people would actually try to do this unethical behavior and activities.
Plus, what happens in the person or PR professional they are dealing with has their own media outlet to discuss what happened to them – so in a sense, it backfires on the person that is doing the blackmailing first. It seems to me that these individuals that are participating in Blackmail 2.0 want to keep their identity hidden to some degree and get what they want in the first place. So, the best thing that a PR professional can do in this situation is to manage their reputation proactively and strategically by not giving into the blackmail, have their own social media outlet (ex. through their web site, blog, social networking sites, etc) and identify these individuals and share their story with their key stakeholders. Those that are transparent, open, and upfront to their audiences about the situation in a professional manner will be successful in overcoming Blackmail 2.0.
Hope you all are having a great day!