Social Media Blunder? Going Dark During A Crisis: NRA & Sandy Hook

Politics aside, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is a brand. Because of social media, the horrific Sandy Hook, CT school shooting this month was a PR crisis for the NRA in a different, more intense way than past violent events involving firearms.

Moments before the news broke on Friday 12/14/12, at 9:35AM EST the NRA Facebook page posted about a giveaway. Shortly thereafter, news outlets announced the Sandy Hook massacre that killed twenty-six people, including twenty children. That evening, the NRA took down their page. They withheld comment until they reactivated it on 12/18/12 with a post explaining their silence:

…Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting…

flames on black backgroundI see the reasoning for preventing intense flame wars:

“As a PR professional, it goes against my instincts and the recommendations I make to clients who stop posting on social media channels in times of crisis,” says Stu Opperman, chief strategist at Impact Players. “[But] with the nation’s collective emotions as raw as they were, any immediate post the NRA made, short of a complete reversal of their long-held position opposing nearly any form of gun control, would be demonized and seen as callous and unfeeling…” –prweekus.com 12/20/12

One could argue that going dark demonstrates a lack of understanding of social media (focus on transparency). The avoidant reaction was meant to halt the onslaught of an emotionally and politically charged conversation and the demand for a response they did not have.

Going Dark Sends Two Possible Messages

Message 1: We don’t know how to handle this crisis.

Could be interpreted as a blend of:
  1. Mea culpa (intentional or not)
  2. Silencing the conversation to avoid further controversy (a temporary and singular solution)
  3. Kneejerk reaction demonstrating lack of crisis management plan
Message 2: This is our crisis management plan.
My initial reaction: Hiding the page was not a sign of respect, as claimed. Merely having a Facebook page is not an implicit sanction or approval of current events, the opinions of its fans/detractors/page commenters, or a sign of anything more than having a second WEBSITE. Simply, a Facebook page is another brand website which enables more public conversations. Of course there is more risk involved. Is that risk the primary differentiator between your website and your page? I.e., NRA.org would not go down during a crisis. Techcrunch explains why merely disabling comments would not suffice – this makes sense.

Being present on social is not a switch you turn on and off as it suits your brand.

But was this instance an exception?

Retail analogy: Your Facebook page is your storefront – your business address. It’s what you post on that page (i.e., what you stock on your shelves or display in your windows) that sends a message.

Have a crisis gameplan. Learn from the multitude of social media blunders. This was new territory. What would you do?

*My sympathies go out to anyone grieving over this tragedy. This post is about social media and is not meant to take a stance on violence, gun control, or politics.

What to Do When Phone Falls in Water + Social Media Catastrophes of 2012 – Episode 10

I. What to Do When Your Phone Falls in Water– Many of us have faced that dreaded moment: one minute you’re sending a text, the next minute you’re panic-stricken fishing your phone

phone dropped in water

out of a puddle/toilet/pool, etc. In the wake of Melanie’s recent iPhone nosedive into a cup of water, (artist name)-style, the ladies give you step-by-step directions of what to do when that unfortunate digital dive occurs.

II. Top Social Media Catastrophes of 2012 (and What We Can Learn From Them)-

yeah, not good...

Chick-fil-A’s fake Facebook profile. An NRA journal’s untimely message. StubHub’s self-deprecating tweet. You’ve heard the stories, now Melanie and I look back at them and discuss what we can learn from some of the year’s biggest social media blunders.

Tips on Tap:

I. Ever wonder what you say in your sleep? Want to prove that your partner is snoring? With the Sleep Talk Recorder app, you can do just that. This handy little app for iPhone and Android picks up on your sleep babble and strange sounds in the night and records them (without all of that dead-space in between). Try it out, and take a look at some hilarious findings other users have submitted. sleeptalkrecorder.com

II. The Fiscal Cliff Calculator– how will it impact you? We’re all sick of hearing about the fiscal cliff, but as we near the metaphor’s edge it’s worth taking a look at how it will impact you. Enter your information (filing status, income, and the like) into the calculator and then choose from a drop down that then compares your tax withholdings, etc. under the current law with several potential outcomes. taxpolicycenter.org/taxcalculator/index.cfm

III. Learnvest.com – Learnvest is a website, smartphone app, and email newsletter geared toward professional women. It offers advice about myriad financial topics from negotiating a raise to navigating tax law, dealing with awkward financial situations or different money attitudes with friends and family, etiquette for paying the bill at a business meal, saving for retirement and your 401k, and getting the most bang for your buck at the grocery store, value out of your clothing, and investing in the stock market.
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The Digital Dive PodcastTM: Get the most out of technology… without ever fully giving in

Texting During Dinner: Multitasking, FOMO, and Smartphone Etiquette

Emily PostSocial etiquette is becoming murkier everyday. Half of all adult Americans now own either a smartphone or tablet, and one-third use their mobile devices to view news stories and video clips at least weekly. –Half of U.S. adults own a smartphone or tablet, 2012 Pew survey Everybody’s on the phone. But they’re not just talking on the phone.

Instead of reiterating the obvious, I will dive into the implications for IRL interactions.

Cultural mores dictate certain things you shouldn’t do because they’re rude. And usually there are exceptions to these rules. Common sense used to suffice in this realm. Mobile technology has introduced a host of new implicit rules and exceptions, not to mention the generational divide over what’s considered rude. The key is whether the other person knows you have an exception (assuming they care or loosely adhere to the following). Common scenarios:

Bad Tech Behavior Exception Caveat/Details
Texting during a meal/date/outing Texting a friend who is on the way/lost/running late. Instagram can be fine if the other person gets it or joins in Instagramming the fire hydrant or heart-shaped coffee froth. Mention to present company that the other party is the person you’re texting. Generally, just give your undivided attention to the other person.
Using your phone while watching/listening to a presentation or speech Taking notes; taking a non-flash photo of the speaker/event; tweeting about the presentation Even if you’re just notetaking on your phone (and do use Evernote), it would look better to use a tablet, seemingly more public and when so, associated with single tasks like notetaking, whereas a phone screen is smaller, thus less conducive to notetaking and more private. Phone is better at hiding your potential bad tech behaviors. Ongoing tweeting is acceptable if the presentation is meant to be live tweeted- definitely if the event has a hashtag. But try and look up.
Texting, web search, or checking Facebook while on a date Showing something on Facebook that is relevant to the conversation. Googling/texting a mutual burning question to an authority. If you want to get away with any of these behaviors undetected, do not post anything. The person may now be or may end up your Facebook friend. A simple calendar check would let them put two and two together: you were multitasking them, as in digitally double-booking them.
Forgetting to turn your phone on silent or vibrate in the movies or at a meeting Movie theatre: no exception. Meeting: Vibrate is acceptable if expecting an important call or email but only if the phone is in your lap, pocket, or purse — not on the table. In a meeting where others are aware (and better yet, mutually affected by the outcome) of your expected call or email or text, vibrate mode on the table is fine.




 You know who you are.

I don’t want to be always on. I want to be in the moment even when the moment is paused for a bathroom break. It’s part of the bigger picture: we need to silence our FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Multitasking is addictive because it produces dopamine. We instinctually want to multitask because the big DA is a powerful reward-based neurotransmitter. It’s what makes cocaine and methamphetamines such fun. We bathe in dopamine for that neurological reward and in order to supposedly maximize our experience of all the available technology. But digital stress on the brain from multitasking makes us perform worse. We really can’t handle more than two tasks at once. We really should focus on the main task at hand: each other.

Zoroaster Interview: Dan Scanlan on Digital Music Distribution – Episode 9

We interview Dan Scanlan, drummer of psych metal band Zoroaster, about the changing landscape of music in the digital age.

  1. Distribution – pros and cons of reaching a wider audience through digital, loss of control
  2. Revenue sources for musicians – mysterious compensation algorithms on YouTube and Pandora
  3. Internet radio – Spotify, iTunes, streaming services
  4. MP3 downloads, CD sales, merchandise, touring, and ticket sales
  5. Amazon, CD Baby, and outlets selling physical albums
  6. Why Dan loves vinyl and 8 tracks

[cincopa A4BAJArYTSZL]

My favorite song by Zoroaster- Odyssey (off Matador)

Tips on Tap

  1. Excel – how to open a new instance:
    If you or your company are still using antiquated versions of Microsoft Excel, you’ve likely discovered the frustration of not being able to open two Excel documents in two separate windows, and thus compare side by side in the same view.
    How to get around it:
    Open up the first Excel document
    Create a new shortcut for Excel on your desktop and open Excel using the shortcut
    You should now have two separate windows open for Excel
    In the blank worksheet, use File>Open to open the second document.
  2. How to clear the “other” space on iPad – the yellow bar can take up gigabytes of memory, with phantom files, email attachments, duplicate music files, corrupt data, notes, contacts, unfinished downloads, etc. First try this: Turn off the iPad, plug in to your computer, sync to iTunes. Try using iExplorer. iTunes will not display all the files that will take up “other.” Check your app usage in Settings -> General -> Usage and look for apps with unusually large memory usage. Otherwise, do a backup then full restore. Forum: Apple Support – Yellow Bar “Other” Capacity
  3. Wanelo shopping app and website – This very simple app shows a Pinterest-style mosaic of product images that you can endlessly scroll through. What sets Wanelo apart from Pinterest is that it provides a much easier shopping experience. Every image you see includes the price of the item. A simple tap will take you to the site where the image can be purchased. Yay for mobile commerce! Click here for the web version…be warned, it’s addictive.

Show Notes

Rob Zombie Woolite Commercial (correction: it was Woolite, not Tide):

Thanks Zoroaster for all the swag! We love the Matador posters with cover art by artist Brian Mercer. Zoroaster’s new album, Century of Light, will be released in early spring 2013, also with cover art by Brian Mercer. And thanks Jordan for the fantastic electronic refillable Tagger lighters from NBSP INC.
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You can download or stream The Digital Dive at thedigitaldivepodcast.com or search for us in the iTunes Podcast Directory–> If you like the show, please subscribe and leave us a review!


The Digital Dive Podcast is on Stitcher, the best free podcast streaming smartphone app. If you’re a new subscriber, please sign up with our link below.
Hear us on Stitcher Smart RadioSay hi on Twitter @thedigitaldive_ and Like us on Facebook.

The Digital Dive PodcastTM: Get the most out of technology… without ever fully giving in

Twitstagram, Facebook iOS 6 Privacy Nightmare, and the Internet Down Under – The Digital Dive Podcast Episode 8

This week The Digital Dive Podcast covers new Twitter photo filters, standing desk adventures, and a major privacy issue with Facebook/iOS 6 integration that hit a little too close to home for me. Your favorite digital divers are also thrilled to bring special guest Australian Crime Fiction Publisher Liam Jose on the show. Liam chimes in on Australia’s recent controversial policies regarding Internet censorship.

I. Standing Desk Update – How Melanie used stacks of office supplies to prevent cancer

II. Twitstagram- Twitter to add Instagram-like photo filters in the next few months

III. Australian government tries to censor the Internet

IV. The Facebook / iOS 6 privacy nightmare: We learn the hard way about the amount of information iOS Contacts pulls from Facebook based on mobile number and email address.

Source: Brian Farrington via townhall.com

Special Guest Liam Jose with my co-host Melanie Touchstone

Tips on Tap:

1. Zite: Apple’s #1 iPad news app of 2011 is still pretty great. Zite is “Your Personalized Magazine.” The app automatically learns what kind of articles, blogs, and videos you like and gets smarter as you use it.

2. Instagram spam comments are on the rise. How to delete Instagram comments and report abuse. (Tap the comment button as though you were going to comment. Then tap on the comment. Tap the trash icon that appears to the left.)

3. iOS 6 Ad Tracking: How to Opt Out. By default iOS 6 tracks iPhone and iPad owners’ browsing history to serve advertisements. How adjust your iOS ad tracking settings: Settings –>; General –>; About –>; Advertising. You’ll see Limit Ad Tracking. The default toggle is in the OFF position. That means ad tracking is turned on. If you want to opt out of targeted advertising, switch Limit Ad Tracking to the ON position. Note: Being tracked or not is a personal preference.

Show notes:

  1. The Standing Desk Adventure – Melanie Touchstone. missmelt.com, 11/14/12
  2. Twitter to Add Photo Filters to Compete With Instagram – NYTimes.com, 11/6/12

Can’t get enough of Liam Jose? Check out thecrimefactory.com and follow him on Twitter.

Me and Special Guest Liam Jose in the studio


You can download or stream The Digital Dive at thedigitaldivepodcast.com or search for us in the iTunes Podcast Directory–>; If you like the show, please subscribe and leave us a review! The Digital Dive Podcast is on Stitcher, the best free podcast streaming smartphone app. If you’re a new subscriber, please sign up with our link below:
Hear us on Stitcher Smart Radio

Ping us on Twitter @thedigitaldive_ and Like us on Facebook.

The Digital Dive PodcastTM: Get the most out of technology… without ever fully giving in

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