Just Another Example Of Why Social Media Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

Those that know me a little bit know that I’m stumbling into the world of social media, trying not to trip over my shoelaces.  There are a few reasons why. Two obvious ones are not quite getting some of it (I am a bit of an old fogie, after all) and a small fear that I might say something I will truly regret that ends up plastered all over the internet.  Now, I speak my mind on a regular basis but for the most part I’m solely responsible for my actions so I’m the only one looking dumb.

I was somewhere between chuckling and shaking my head when I read this View From the Wing post just now.

The short version is that another Boarding Area blogger, One Mile at a Time, started a Kickstarter project to see if folks would fund a trip for him to fly in one of the new Etihad residences, essentially your own apartment on a plane.

I like Ben.  He may be a bit more nuts than I am, but if I didn’t have a wife and kids at home I’d have fun doing 90% of his travel.

But, that’s not the point.  The point is the American Airlines PR person who decided to condemn Lucky’s Kickstarter project.  From Gary’s post:

Hazardous To Your Health

As Gary points out, American Airlines and Etihad are partners. Etihad getting $20,000 for a ticket is a good thing, but not according to Leslie Scott.  That being said, I really think her next tweet is the icing on the cake (and easily the most ignorant):

Hazardous To Your Health

I run companies for a living, and advise companies that we invest in the proper ways to manage a business.  I’m not perfect.  But, I also know that your personal life can and does have an impact on your professional life if you choose to make it public.  Ms. Scott has over 1500 followers on Twitter.  She’s a spokesperson for a large, publicly held company.  Saying you’re a professional who knows how to separate personal from professional doesn’t make it so in the eyes of the world, especially on social media.

Like it or not, her personal actions have an impact on how her company is viewed.

And today, I’m guessing her actions are not a positive for her employer (or her).

About the Author

My goal in life is to fill my family’s passports with stamps, creating buckets of memories along the way. You’ll find me writing about realistic ways for normal people to travel the world, whether you’re on a budget or enjoy luxury. I also enjoy taking us on the occasional detour to explore the inner workings of the travel industry.

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12 Comments

  1. I disagree at many levels. She is absolutely correct that it is dumb and wasteful. And the claim that AA will benefit from this silly exercise is quite a stretch. They’re likely much more harmed by the presence of the Residence in the commercial market then they are helped by one guy making a huge public cry to get others to pay for his boondoggle.

    1. I have very little opinion on whether it’s wasteful or not. I have a significantly stronger opinion on her calling him an idiot and then saying it doesn’t reflect on her employer because she’s “professional”.

      1. So you’re saying anyone with a professional job is not allowed to express their opinion in public for fear that their employer might be associated with said comment?? I think that’s a very, very, very bad standard to set.

        1. Seth, I’m not saying she can’t express her opinion to the public. I’m saying she can’t say, “I’m a professional” after she calls a customer of her an employer an idiot from a Twitter account that lists her employer’s name and expect there be no ramifications. I have no problem with her expressing her opinion. But, there are ramifications to those actions.

        2. And, Seth, FWIW, she’s a spokesperson, not a pilot, admin, mechanic, etc. Like it or not, her comments are likely to be construed much more so as an opinion of the company than if she was a mechanic. As Fredd mentions, removing her employer’s name from her Twitter bio is a good step in the right direction if she wants to speak her mind.

  2. “So you’re saying anyone with a professional job is not allowed to express their [sic] opinion in public,,,” If it were completely accurate, I would agree with your second statement. Probably Brendan Eich would as well. However, massaging Ed’s argument into a false inference doesn’t really advance the conversation. I could evoke the same “faux outrage” effect by replying “So you’re saying anyone should be allowed with impunity to express hatred, for example, against racial or religious minorities while identifying as a spokesperson for a company?” I suggest my inference is slightly less faulty than yours. I’ve read that the AA spokesperson has now amended the biography attached to her account to remove the airline’s name. If she’s going to call out a customer as an “idiot” for trying to raise money to fly on one of her employer’s “partners,” that would seem to be a prudent step.

  3. @ PiM & WA — guys, I don’t think Ben (or Gary, who posted about this) have a problem with anyone calling this wasteful or whatnot. Judging from the conversations, it looks like there was a tweet from AA spokeswoman that insulted people who contributed to Ben’s KS, including calling them “gross” so Ben objected to THAT (offending tweet was removed, I take it).

    1. Ivan, I certainly have no problem with her calling it wasteful. I think Ben even called it wasteful. I’m just commenting on the actions and ramifications of those statements. Thanks for weighing in!

    1. JP2, no worries from me. I’m pretty comfortable saying it wasn’t the smartest way to express her concerns with the issue at hand.

      1. I wish the world was like I work from 9-5 and what I do and say outside that doesn’t reflect or impact my employer. It just seems that isn’t reality.

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