Super Bowl lesson: Social Media magnifies mistakes

I was watching morning-after news coverage of the Super Bowl and was struck by the second guessing of both the coaching and commercials. Seahawks fans are upset that the team elected to pass on their ill-fated final possession — an interception ultimately sealed the victory for the Patriots.

Others are angry at a Nationwide Insurance spot, in which a young boy spoke of the things he’ll never do because he was killed in an accident.

Whether you agree or disagree with either of these decisions, what’s interesting is the tide of negative comments on social media:

  • “Too bad I don’t have #Nationwide insurance….so I could cancel it after that commercial.”
  • “Seriously, who with @Nationwide’s PR/Marketing team thought a commercial during the #SuperBowl about kids dying was an idea worth $4.5M?”
  • “That @Nationwide Commercial makes me want to call Geico”

Twitter also chimed in on the Seahawks choice to attempt a pass, targeting Seattle coach Pete Carroll, generally considered one of the best in the game:

  •  “Worst call in NFL History. Pete Carroll will never recover from this … Horrible! Horrible! Horrible!”
  •  “Pete Carroll just made the biggest screw-up in Super Bowl history.”
  •  “This was the mother of all screwups.”

Two lessons here. First, everyone has an opinion, and social media gives them a platform to share —good or bad. While these tweets (or posts) may not represent any more frustration than you’d hear at the water cooler, when combined, they create a wave of public opinion that reaches farther and wider than anything previously available to the everyday person.

Secondly, because of the potential of “bad press” in the social media world, the consequences of errors are greater. While people may not mean any ill intent by posting video of a news anchor accidentally dropping an F-bomb during a newscast, the potential damage is far beyond what existed in days past.

Your turn. Does social media magnify issues, or is it a valuable way for the public to be heard?

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  1. #1 by elmediat on March 30, 2015 - 12:00 am

    This is a very good example of Mass Media Principles. All Mass Media construct reality. The large number of individuals expressing an interpretation of events build a reality that others may come to accept as true.

    More significantly all Mass Media convey both intended and unintended messages. Just because you have a message you are sending out it may not be the message that is being received. This is much like a poorly composed photograph, such as a family snapshot where you have to give a verbal explanation so that the viewer will focus on your intended subject, ” look at Uncle Fred not little Lulu and the kitten”.

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