Now Will You Listen to Me about Social Media?

I don’t often get a chance to use current events in my blog posts, but what’s happening this week just can’t be passed up!

By now, everyone on the planet has heard about the American dentist who went big game hunting in Zimbabwe, thought he made a clean kill, then had all Hell break loose by the time he gets home because his purported trophy was the national mascot of the country.

He now stands accused of crimes in Zimbabwe and apparently there will be an attempt at extradition.

Oh, and he’s had to close his dental practice, his homes are under siege, and the US press is looking for him with all the fervor that they had for those two escaped convicts in upstate New York.

Remember when people made jokes about how boring dentists were?

Now, I’m going to go into the legal or ethical implications of the case.

Better minds than mine are doing that right now.

But, I will talk about social media’s role in all this.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to endanger my professional reputation by suggesting that a good social media program will get this dentist out of his problems.

(Actually, the words to “Lawyers, Guns, and Money” by Warren Zevon are probably more appropriate here.)

What I will say is that there is a big lesson learned here for everyone in business.

It wasn’t all that long ago that this story would never have gotten the coverage that it has received today.

Not because of the merits of the story, but because of the use of social media.

Not only has social media facilitated the distribution of the story and the resulting furor, I’m willing to bet that much of the material being used against the dentist comes from either his own social media accounts or those of friends and family.

Sobering, isn’t it?

In today’s interconnected world, anything can go viral!

You may be sitting there saying, “OK, that’s all well and good, but I don’t go big game hunting.  Why should I worry?”

Trust me, it can happen to you!

You own a restaurant and locals get hepatitis from your food.

You own a bar and someone has a little too much to drink, gets by your bartender, and becomes involved in a horrific car accident.

You own a car service and one of your vehicles is the cause of a serious accident with fatalities.

You own a medical practice and your patient dies from a lapse in procedure.

Get the picture?

Each of these incidents, while all serious, would probably not have become a major local news story let alone a national or even global one a few years ago.


Once it hits the Internet, the story’s there forever.

What can be done here?

While having a social media program and knowing how to deal with negative feedback on social media are all well and good, they’re not silver bullets.

You have to do your very best that you, your staff, and your organization do get into these situations.

Yes, this is easier said than done but you have to never relent here!

The next thing is to be prepared with your social media in case it does happen to you.

The third thing is be be prepared!

(Yes, I know I’m repeating myself but this is important!)

Think about what I’ve said!

That’s it for now!

In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!

I look forward to any and all comments that you may have.  I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.


I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me.  Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.

I can also be reached at

My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.

Stay well!

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