Operations

Social Media: A Weapon of Crass Destruction

Jim Luff
Posted on April 20, 2018
While social media enhances human connectivity, it can also elicit some heinous behavior, embarrassing to any business trying to maintain a positive image (LCT image).
While social media enhances human connectivity, it can also elicit some heinous behavior, embarrassing to any business trying to maintain a positive image (LCT image).

Facebook turned 14 years-old in February. In that time, 81% of all adults in the U.S. have created a Facebook account. It’s by far the largest social media platform in the world, and according to a USA Today report, has nearly doubled the size of Instagram, the third top social media site.

Other platforms include Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube (see sidebar for Top 10 List). With such a vast audience, comments, rants, photos, and gossip will be read and possibly shared to a much wider audience than merely your “friends” on Facebook. In fact, in a matter of minutes, a post can make you the most despised person on Facebook if it hits the wrong nerve.

The Infamous Airport Photo
A few months ago, a photo was posted of a chauffeur walking through the airport with a cane. Perhaps the intent was to spark conversation about handling older chauffeurs. Or maybe it was more sinister and poking fun at the chauffeur. Regardless, it sparked a fury of debate and opened a can of good old fashioned whoop-ass on the operator who posted it. He was ridiculed so much he took the post down. Can you imagine how much affiliate work he received the next day? Probably none. How much damage was done to this operator’s business, professional image, and how people viewed him after the post? In a perverse way, as that famous credit card ad says, priceless. While it took a fleeting second to click the button and post, the damage caused could be significant and long lasting.

The Death Scam
This might come as a shock, but you can’t believe everything you read on Facebook, which is chest deep in fake news problems. Recently an operator posted one of his chauffeurs had been killed in a car accident and the family needed funds to pay for funeral expenses. Marlo Denning, owner of Elegant Limousines in Palm Beach, Fla., jumped right on a bandwagon and created a Go Fund Me page and solicited other operators to donate. It all turned out to be a big lie, leaving Denning, who is generous to a fault, embarrassed and having to return funds she had collected. Don’t believe everything simply because you saw it online and never spread anything you have not personally verified or have solid proof of its truth. This simply perpetuates internet lore.

Top 10 Industry Group Pages
by Members
#1 – Limo Network: 3,694
#2 – Limo Marketing: 2,342
#3 – Limo: 1,867
#4 – Limo University: 1,447
#5 – Limo Growth:1,402
#6 – Minority Association
of Limousine Owners: 904
#7 – Deadbeat Affiliate
Limo Companies: 893
#8 – Limo Partners / Friends: 475
#9 – Limousine Technology Group: 430
#10 – Limo Affiliate Network: 416
* As of February 27, 2018

Think Before You Post
If you are about to post a controversial item, most of us have an internal sense that causes us to pause and ask, “Should I be posting this?” If that feeling comes up, take a moment. Think about how others will perceive your post. Does it hurt their feelings? Could it be misconstrued for something you are not intending to say? Could it be considered offensive to anyone? In this era of political correctness and heightened sensitivities, you must take a moment to think before you post.

Industry Group Pages
There are plenty of industry related group pages. Some are exclusive, invitation only groups, and others are open forums. These are the specific pages that frequently become a hotbed of heated debates on everything from credit card processing to publicly shaming an affiliate on how they handle an assignment, or worse yet, publicly lambasting someone for not paying their bills. These group pages are places where reputations can be destroyed with a flippant post. Fortunately, most of these groups have moderators with level heads who quickly remove offensive posts.  

Be Careful of Badmouthing Others
LCT consulted with Matthew Clark, a California based personal injury attorney, who is recognized as a “super attorney” by meeting stringent requirements set forth by Super Attorney Magazine. “In general, I would suggest social media is a really poor platform for airing of grievances,” Clark says. “People tend to think the anonymity of an online post gives them freedom to say things they would never actually say to someone’s face. Be careful what you say about others, as they could just as easily say the same things about you.”

Clark explained libel and slander laws prevent the publishing of untrue statements. For example, if one limo operator claims another owes him money, and this is untrue, yet he publishes statements online claiming he is owed money anyway, well, that’s libel. Someone can sue for libel and collect damages based on the damage to their reputation. A case can even be made for what we call “per se” libel, as in lying about someone’s business that impacts their ability to procure work and damages relationships. You can be sued for this.
In California, it’s a criminal offense (Penal Code 646.9) to cyberstalk someone. That includes online harassment. The penalties are harsh and can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony, so beware.

Talking About Clients Online
While it may not be considered a criminal offense, sharing any details about a client or passenger is not in our best interest. No one wants to farm work to a blabbermouth, and the nature of our business requires the utmost confidentiality. There are operators who probably would never reveal which celebrities they serve, while others may brag about it. It’s no secret celebrities use our services. All you have to do is watch the Oscars, the Emmys, or any other awards show to see who is using chauffeured transportation. But when you start sharing information about the hotel they are staying at or their personal preferences, this crosses the line of professionalism. Such posts on social media can almost guarantee you will not receive farm jobs from companies such as AJL International or Daitz Logistics, who deal exclusively with concert tours and musician travel.  

The Deadbeat Affiliate Group
This private group on Facebook is truly living on the edge. It serves a valid purpose useful to the industry. A moderator tightly controls admission to the group. This is a place where people who don’t pay their affiliates are named. Included are their names, company names, dollar amounts owed, the length of time people have waited to get paid, and all the juicy details. Some well recognized companies end up on this page. Perhaps they are having a cash flow problem or they just burn their affiliates and think nothing more about it. While it’s certainly a practical group, Clark says you better be prepared to back up your post with absolute proof of the debt and the details posted if you are sued.

Related Topics: client feedback, client markets, Facebook, Facebook marketing, How To, Sales & Marketing, social media, social media marketing

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Whatever

     | about 5 months ago

    Whatever... I can tell you ths right here right now, you are a joke IMHO.

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