Rethink: Komen Overlooks the Power of Social Media

As the fallout continues for Susan G. Komen for the Cure – following the organization’s decision (and retraction) to discontinue funds to Planned Parenthood – the tweets also continue.

With each day, no matter who resigns or speaks, the controversy threatens to undermine Komen’s reputation for supporting women’s health.

That people would loudly and immediately react to the initial announcement is not surprising. Such a step, no matter the business or political reasons, was at best inconsistent with the Komen brand.

That thousands would use Twitter and Facebook to articulate their views, negative and positive, is no surprise. These social media essentials are part of the fabric as news occurs, views are shared, and issues are discussed.

But that Komen seemed to overlook the intensity of the social media conversation, however, is surprising. How did they think people would express themselves? By typing letters to be mailed to a newspaper to print, days later, in an op Ed column?

Social media speeds every dimension of life. Relationships reach higher levels of intensity because of immediate communication, issues garner higher levels of awareness and reaction, and personalities and organizations face higher levels of scrutiny.

We don’t know if the Komen folks thought no one would notice their initial action or if no one would doubt the intent of such a strong brand. Nor do we know if they considered the potential impact of social media.

We’re reminded that no one, and no organization, can ignore how social media advances any story all day and night. Any organization must remember that, in today’s world, nothing is private. Someone is watching and Tweeting every step.

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