In what has been described as the warp-speed world of social media, opportunities abound to promote yourself and your opinions.
Without the need to pay for printing, buy postage, purchase advertising space or employ marketing professionals, many small business owners find social media an economical way to engage consumers and present themselves on a personal level. Associations, including ASHI, also find it rewarding.
Yet, as with all good things, endorsement of this positive marketing technique comes with a cautionary note.
You may have heard that the actor Ashton Kutcher has been celebrated as an early adopter of social media, eventually having close to 10 million Twitter followers. Even with several years of experience tweeting numerous times daily, he learned how fast missteps could travel when he tweeted a protest of Penn State coach Joe Paterno's firing — before realizing why Paterno was being let go.
According to a report from Todd Leopold, for CNN, "Kutcher later apologized, deleted his earlier messages and finally put his Twitter account under the control of his publicists."
When ASHI moved into the realm of social media, staff received training from Gibbs & Soell, public relations professionals. We were advised to maintain the same level of professionalism that we are committed to in our print publications. In other words, to resist the temptation to be cute, to express personal opinions, to let the casual style of social media morph into sloppiness or to value immediacy over fact. We continue to be aware that the Internet loves a misstep and that nothing goes viral faster than one.
With this cautionary tale in mind, I wish you all good (and safe) tweeting.
• ASHI's Twitter feed
• ASHI's Facebook page