Last week I boarded an 8:21 train to Penn Station on an 85 degree morning. The train car had no working air conditioning. Aggravated, I expressed my disappointment on Twitter: “Thanks @LIRR for sticking us in a 30 year old car with no A/C on one of the year’s hottest days.” Moments later, the Long Island Rail Road tweeted back: “Our apologies Professor Morosoff. pls let us know the train and car # you’re in so we can report AC for repair.” Although I was surprised, most large organizations have become PR savvy and respond to tweets which could affect their reputation. This was a smart use of social media.
This week Nicki Minaj tweeted her disappointment that her hit “Anaconda” wasn’t nominated for the MTV Video Music Awards’ video of the year. “If I was a different ‘kind’ of artist, Anaconda would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year as well,” she tweeted, adding, “When the ‘other’ girls drop a video that breaks records and impacts culture they get that nomination.” Taylor Swift then tweeted, “I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot.” Minaj explained that she was only addressing a lack of recognition for minority artists, but Swift, who was nominated, took it personally. On Thursday, Swift tweeted, “I missed the point, I misunderstood, then misspoke. I’m sorry, Nicki.”
Using social media to “warn others” was raised in the ethics column in last week’s New York Times Magazine. The writer asked if it was OK to post a photo of a car’s license plate after it was spotted driving erratically. The ethicists agreed that posting the picture could lead to “major controversy” and even a lawsuit.
That person’s posting was only satisfying him or herself and accomplishing nothing. Taylor Swift’s overreaction ultimately caused her embarrassment. I was venting my anger, too, but my posting was designed to accomplish a result that might benefit others. They’re three examples of why you should examine your true motivation before you express online disappointment. Your thoughts?