‘Getting Away With Murder’ Through Social Media

Let me start by saying, I’m not even sure how I feel about this topic. man-with-questionsHowever, that’s exactly why I feel the need to discuss it – is there a right or wrong answer? Is it something that can be decided on in a black and white manner or is there too much gray (or red) floating around.

Using Social Media To YOUR Advantage

What I’m bringing forward today is the discussion of how social media has been used time and time again to break the rules or, in other words, to ‘get away with murder‘. It’s alarming how many examples come to mind of stories I’ve seen plastered all over Facebook of someone being “wronged” by a company and in the end – even if THEY were the one at fault – were compensated in some way.

Going Viral: Single Dad Denied Prize From Oilers 50/50 Draw

Black and white or too much gray? Social media is allowing rules to be broken due to a simple click of a button. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand the convenience of taking to social media to complain about a company that has wronged you. However, when we start looking at cases where, in reality, the consumer is at fault, should they really still be getting away with it?

Let’s talk about a recent story that has been shared many times on Facebook. A man (single dad) was denied his half of the 50/50 draw from the Oilers game (there is only a 48 hour grace period to claim the prize) because he was past the deadline.



The story ended up with a happy ending and the man received the prize. The Oilers stated that it was a “one time exception”. However, is this really the case? Many viral stories end up with a happy ending and the person receiving compensation – regardless of them being at fault. Do you really think that if this was to happen again (let’s say to a sweet older couple), that they wouldn’t make the same exception? Is this consumers ‘getting away with murder’ because of the power of social media? Or, can we counter this and show what great marketing this is for the Oilers foundation – for giving this single dad the money, despite the rules? Is this a win/win or is this a bigger problem within social media?



A few other examples of people ‘getting away with murder’ despite them being at fault themselves:



Black And White Or Red? Is There A Point To Rules?

Okay, dramatic, I know. Of course there is a point to rules – the majority of people won’t reach out to every level of social media when they are ‘wronged’. However, there are stories going viral, daily, pushing the regulations and rules because of social media. Break the rulesIs it in the companies best interest to give in and try to play the hero by compensating the consumer, despite fault. Or, is this just setting way too much precedence?

Are my thoughts an over reaction? Is this even an issue? Is my white and black brain just off-put by the large amount of grey matter that floats around this issue? This is the 21st century and having a voice and (easily) spreading it is just a part of every day life now. Why does it matter if the single dad gets his prize (who wouldn’t want him to – that’s a life changer for him and his son!)? Should a person get to fly even though their name was incorrect on their plane ticket (at their own fault), despite the rules? This one doesn’t pull at your heartstrings as much, but the same question is there. Why aren’t rules simply rules now that social media is involved? When do companies say no? Can they even allow themselves to now that social media has the potential to make them look bad with a quick share or retweet.



4 thoughts on “‘Getting Away With Murder’ Through Social Media

  1. You raise good ethical questions. On a personal level, it’s possible to define the boundaries of what you’ll share or won’t share and you can turn OFF when you want to. If you’re a public entity whose performance is being judged, it’s a whole other ball game. Responding politely, admitting mistakes and taking steps to fix them is always a good first step.

    • I agree, I think social media helps keep companies and businesses honest. It’s true, sometimes the boundaries are pushed. But it has brought social responsibility more to the forefront.

  2. Great thought-provoking post! You raise some questions that I am not certain there are clear answers to that will work in every situation. I don’t mean to avoid the tough questions you raise by adopting a cowardly position right on top of the fence, but I fear that’s what I will appear to be doing.

    One of the great things about social media is its fluidity.

    One of the horrible things about social media is its fluidity.

    I wonder to what extent social media is a mirror, a reflection of how good and bad our society can really be. Social media is a medium where dishonest people can be more dishonest, and where good people have an opportunity to shine.

    I work for an organization that has been attacked on social media, I know how it feels to be digitally accused of being a heartless, uncaring organization. Sometimes, the allegation was unfair, sometimes it was fair.

    I think your post astutely outlines the dangers of the social media realm. Just as with any dangerous undertaking in life, it is best undertaken with a strong moral compass, a strong sense of your own values and ethics. Then, when others challenge who we are we allow that compass to guide our response. Do we waive the deadline for the single-Dad? Do we stand firm on our rules and regulations? Well, who are we as a business, what do we value? Is compassion important to us?

    Every business (and personal) crisis is an opportunity to demonstrate character. I think the Oilers demonstrated what they value. Maybe the next incident will result in a different outcome, depending on how their moral and ethical compass guides them.

    Thanks for the great post,

    Doug MacNair

  3. I feel like rules have never just been rules. Since there are human beings behind the rules, they often shift and change depending on the situation. For example, a few Christmases ago, we arrived late to the airport, at least a couple of minutes past the gate closure time. The attendant made an exception and let us on. I am almost certain it was because we were frequent travellers and had attained platinum status of whichever travel card we used at the time. Maybe it was because I was flying with 2 little ones and probably looked like I was about to burst into tears. My dad and sisters, in a different airport, had the same problem, they arrived late by minutes and they were not let on their flight. He was a single dad with a pre-teen and a teenager….maybe they didn’t look as sweaty and stressed out as me. Maybe the attendant didn’t care that day or maybe it was because they didn’t have travel status. This was 100% unfair. But it was a person who made the final decision on who got on what flight despite the rules being broken.
    I feel like social media has placed a spotlight on behaviour. Things can be rectified more quickly. Companies have to take responsibility whether they did something wrong or not. But they also have a voice. If they are truly wronged, they can tell their story. Or they can show their human side when they make an exception or adjustment.
    I also agree with Doug’s point too, social media allows deceitful people to be more deceitful and somehow allows them to hide out in the open. This one is really troubling.

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