Effectively managing social media for another (whether individual, brand, traditional media or conference) means checking your ego and personal biases at the door, and being true to the client’s community, voice and needs. It’s about them and their community, not about you. If you do things untoward or disrespectful to their community when representing them, it reflects poorly on them, and ultimately on you. This is never more true then in the case of a conference or festival, as conferences and festivals are all about community. As such you want to use an event’s social feeds to be supportive of that community, especially if you want the community to support the event in return, through sharing and using the event’s hashtag.
I was recently reminded of this at a recent conference. The conference had a hashtag, and tweets using the hashtag were shared in a live twitter stream or were they? Tweeting from 3 different handles, it didn’t take me long to realize that only my own personal tweets were being shared in the live twitter stream, while those of my company and one of our characters were not. Since these tweets were live I looked to see if either the company or the character had said something that could be construed as offensive. They had not. In fact, typically at a conference, our company tweets most of the ideas being shared from the company feed, our personal opinions from our personal feeds, and items of a lighter nature from our storytelling characters. I could understand our one characters’ tweets being edited out of the feed, as she has a reputation for being racy, but our company’s tweets that were the tamest of the lot? Our company, I might add, that had been supportive of the particular conference for a number of years.
In pondering this oddity, I discovered we were not alone. Others were discovering that the twitter stream was selective about what was being shared too. Given a good reason for this, like keeping the tweets focused on the business side of the conference, this would have been understandable, but then why were our company’s tweets not being included? As best as anybody could tell, it came down to reducing exposure to a potential competitor for those managing the feed. Their company’s tweets showed in the live twitter stream, but not those of any company that potentially competed with them in the market. The result? Many at the conference that noticed this were left with a bad taste in their mouth. A Social Networking FAIL for sure, at a conference that was suppose to be helping people to move forward in the transmedia space and demonstrate positive examples for them.