Social Media

Social Media Week 2015 – day two 

 Starting the day with a home-grown Fringe event, ‘It’s my data’ saw Penny Bygrave of Bircham Dyson Bell deliver a timely presentation on the policies and procedures necessary for organisations to ensure that data is stored, managed and processed correctly. 

Data protection is a hot topic right now, with serious breaches being frequently reported in the news. The drive to collect, analyse and store data has brought with it greater risks from malpractice, misuse and misinformation. It is essential to fully understand and to provide information about data handling and Bygrave made a complex area digestible and practical. 

The reality is that responding to a data subject access request is a resource intensive exercise, often with little or no reward for the organisation (other than a £10 fee). Although there are ways to avoid some obligations (by not maintaining a searchable organised records system, for example) these are not practical or realistic in today’s digital world. Email, cloud storage and yes, social media, all contribute to our oversupply of data and there is a growing movement wanting to protect that and to keep it private. Data protection will surely become a primary concern for employees and consumers in the coming years. 

Wealth and social well-being 

Making my way over to SMW HQ for the first time this year, the first session of the afternoon was spent learning very little about the social media habits of High Net Worth individuals (with over £1million in capital) and those of Ultra High Net Worth (over £30million). What I did learn, however, was that both HNW and UHNW like next season’s fashion and that their consumer habits differ not between levels of wealth, but between ‘new wealth’ and ‘old wealth’. Old wealth, we were informed, care less about cost and more about what a purchase represents. When it comes to technology, no one seems to care about what they use, although Apple products are of course favoured, whether gold-plated, bejewelled, or not. 

What may be worth considering further is the generational shift of what we might call ‘aristocracy’. There will be a move in the coming years towards a new breed of wealthy individual: one that has grown up in the mobile world and who is familiar with modern technology. At that point, there may be a seismic shift that returns to reputation, wealth and data protection. This will be a key opportunity for digital specialists to harness fresh opportunities, investment and develop new markets. 

Talking ’bout my reputation 

The final session of my day (before a spirited party at the London Aquarium to officially launch The Reef) was spent in the company of reputation management lawyers, Schillings. There were a few key points arising from the presentation, entitled ‘Frying pan meet fire’. The first was the difficulties aggrieved victims of any harassment or campaigns have in identifying those responsible. The move from mainstream to social media has meant that once readily identifiable protagonists were now potentially hidden (or partially obscured) in a web of anonymity.
Second, was the importance of guidance for employees, not only those in a marketing or digital content role, but all employees. This should also include recognising the potential for a crisis and knowing when to escalate that to a more senior level. 

Finally, when attempting to have content removed or when reporting social media users for offensive or defamatory comments, it is important not only to focus on the defamation points (which do not sit easily with US freedom of speech protections) but on other issues, such as the offence caused, intellectual property infringement (copyright of images, trademarks etc) and any breaches of confidentiality. 

So, when faced with social media sabotage, you should take control of the situation whilst maintaining composure. Organisations should also remind employees to direct any comment through them and not take on the saboteurs alone or independently. Lashing out can be as damaging, if not more damaging, than the act complained of. 

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