COM0011 – Blog Post #3 – The Moral Behind Using Facebook, to Get Out in Front of a Story …

JianYou know that old saying. About closing the barn doors once the horses are out? It’s hard to put a spin on something, once it’s been released in Social Media. By the same token, Facebook isn’t the media platform I associated with a PR spin. Perhaps I was naïve.

I thought of Facebook as an online diary, where we shared the moments or events in life among friends and family. One thing I still believe, Facebook users are in control of the message, if they choose to deliver it there. Seems like things got out of control for Jian Ghomeshi, this week, the popular host of CBC ‘s Q radio program.

Hindsight is 20/20

In hindsight, he acted quickly to get ahead of unpublished allegations against him, by posting his version through Facebook. Could he have imagined, his post would trigger such feedback? One would think he was hoping for different results. The trend was good, showing legions of Facebook fans that ‘liked’ his post that Sunday night. But that’s the trouble with a measure such as ‘Like” – it doesn’t tell you what people are really thinking, if they’ve even read a post. As a leading indicator, the like trend had some promise, until Monday.

The FB post triggered a Toronto Star article to release, the following day. Reporters had been investigating allegations against Ghomeshi since the summer, but could not get editorial approval to run the story. Once Jian opened up on Facebook with his version of events and allegations, the story got approval to run. It leaves me wondering, if this would have been dealt with privately, outside of the media, had Jian not gone public on Facebook. Not that it matters now.

I Liked His Radio Program 

Last Sunday night I logged onto Facebook as I often do. I came across that post on a friend’s feed, from Jian Ghomeshi. I was amazed to see the number of likes the post had generated so quickly. I liked his radio program Q, but I really didn’t know much about him. It was here, 2 weeks ago; I had read a moving tribute from Jian about his Dad, just after he passed away. And now something personal again – to do with his recent dismissal from CBC.

Admittedly I was curious, having been downsized out of a corporate job myself. I read his post, at first his apparent outrage at losing his job, without cause, after 14 years of loyal service. But as I read further, the story got murkier. In the end, I was left shaking my head. TMI. Why would he post such a lengthy expose, and who were all these people supporting him? If anything, he succeeded in planting more questions in my mind, than I ever had before.

Where There Was Smoke, There Was Fire

He exposed too much of what was by his own admission, unsavory practices to many. Which without certainty of context would be deemed abusive to women. As a woman myself, with daughters, I was shocked at the number of ‘likes’ for his post. In the days that followed, more has come to light. Although no one has been charged, I can say the information I’ve seen, validates the early opinion I had after reading his Facebook post. Where there was smoke, there was fire.

There are so many lessons to be learned in this story. They have been dealt with in many of the articles I refer to below and sparked many good conversations.

The Moral of the Story, as I Saw it on Facebook


The moral to this story as I suggested above, may be too late for Mr. Ghomeshi to heed, but he now understands.

But for those contemplating a similar media strategy – don’t underestimate the power of social media. You can’t control the information that gets out there, even if it is from our beloved Facebook. Yes you could be the first out of the gate. But assess the situation ahead of time. Arm yourself with facts. Otherwise your tactics and allegations, may encourage others to come forward and exchange allegations and opinions of their own – all online! It is too late to retract then.

2 thoughts on “COM0011 – Blog Post #3 – The Moral Behind Using Facebook, to Get Out in Front of a Story …

  1. Whether you approve or not of Jian Ghomeshi’s “practices” and the implications resulting from this media story, one thing for sure, it has created a Twitter Tsunami of comments. Not too sure that Mr Ghomeshi wanted to be associated with this hash tag though #rapedbutneverreported

  2. I think it is critical to understand crisis management and how to use social media to limit damages when a crisis occurs. In this case, I think Mr. Ghomeshi attempted to use his popularity on social media to pre-empt the crisis. It failed, badly, and instead he opened the flood gates to his own demise. It would be interesting to know if he did it on his own or if he was guided by his crisis management team at the time.

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