by Kim Niemi
For the past few weeks we’ve used this space to shine light on examples of bad behavior on the Web. We’re talking the really bad, get people fired, cost people lots of money kind of bad behavior. When it happens publicly across social media channels we call it social sabotage, and trust us, you don’t want any part of it.
But how do you know if what you’ve posted constitutes social sabotage? I mean, waiting to judge by the results of a questionable post is probably a little risky (though some of us insist on learning the hard way). Are there degrees of social sabotage?
Saying something to alienate an entire subset of your consumer base is probably worse than licking a stack of taco shells and posting about it. The best option is always to not socially sabotage yourself (or allow someone else to do it) at all.
Having a solid social media policy in place, with clear consequences for going against policy, is a must.
So what was Jezebel thinking when they posted this - and is it social sabotage?
If you read Jezebel’s description on their website and Facebook page, you’ll see they describe their content thusly: “Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for Women. Without Airbrushing.” So one might argue that they’ve put it out there that they’re going to be a bit “in your face.”
Then again, when you surf around and take a look at their content, you’ll see pieces about things like 4-year-old paper fashionista, Mayhem; a study claiming that girls underestimate themselves in math; and a piece called “The F**ked Up History Of Antibiotics, Farm Animals, And Weight Gain.” Yes, they did drop an F-bomb, and other titles have the occasional curse word, but nothing quite as loaded as the title in question.
The risqué nature of the title profiling the Lick This app seems to be banking on shock value to get readers’ attention; which it did, judging by some of the Facebook comments:
So in the short-term this is a solid click-bait strategy, but long-term repercussions could lead to a steady decline – particularly if they misinterpret short term gains for long-term strategy.
There’s a fine line between promotion and social sabotage, y'all. Next week we'll share a checklist to guide your efforts.
In the meantime, subscribe to our Ghost Tips for all you need to know about social sabotage - and much more.