Wednesday, September 16, 2015

It is important to have a responsive social media policy

The University of Texas at Austin just fired their Athletics Director this week.  Steve Patterson had only been on the job for 22 months, but had become increasingly unpopular for a variety of reasons, namely his cool, business-like demeanor and hefty increases in ticket prices.  In addition, he forced out longtime Sports Information Director John Bianco, among other staffers. 

In reading one particular article on, the below quote struck me as being relevant to our course.
Eventually, public perception so turned against Patterson, he was getting blamed for things he didn’t even do. 
An Internet-based report indicated Patterson was charging Texas Tech band members for tickets to the game. Two days later — eons in the social media world — UT officials released a statement saying that wasn’t true.

As discussed in class earlier this week, the social media world has quickened the pace at which people expect information.  Two days to release a relatively short policy statement is entirely too long.  While this was not the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back, it certainly added some weighted hay.  A social media policy allowing for a quick response could have ended the rumors quickly and taken a little of the heat off of Patterson.  A policy allowing a quick response does not preclude a fuller response at a later time.  The policy statement could have still been issued on its time schedule, but having a faster social media response could have prevented the rumors from building and swirling in the Twitterverse, media reports, and fan message boards.  Unfortunately for Patterson, the response was too little too late.  

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