Football, drink and social media
Written by Gina Sharp on Thursday, 03 May 2012.
But as we’ve seen this week, these social activities can induce the reverse effect on others. Witness the drunken secretary facing jail after her unappetising tube rant was broadcast on YouTube.
We all know men (and women) who suddenly transform into monsters the second they put on a pair of football boots. Indeed, a pint of beer and a replica football shirt can be a disastrous combination.
This might explain why poor old Roy Hodgson has taken so much stick this week after being appointed as England manager. He’s intelligent, speaks five languages and has a successful track record in Europe. So naturally the man in the replica shirt in the beer garden has gone online to castigate him. Bobby Robson and co. only had to deal with the vitriol of the press. These days social media has opened up a whole new avenue for abuse from the so-called ‘fan’.
Tragically (and rather unbelievably) there are people in the media who throw caution to the wind whenever they see an open Twitter window or an unfilled Facebook field. This is odd, because communications experts and highly paid public relations execs should know better. Young, slightly stroppy (they refer to themselves as ‘edgy’) execs are getting a little bit carried away with themselves. Protected by the ivory towers of their large employer, these naïve PRs launch onto the tweetwaves, showing off like kids at the back of the classroom when the supply teacher arrives.
There have been two recent examples of this behaviour – PRs who went on twitter to denigrate journalists. Both used language I can’t repeat here, but you can sense the aftershock of the latter in Mark Borkowski’s comments.
Yes, journalists can be challenging to deal with sometimes. If it were easy, there would be no need for PR people in the first place. Everyone would do their own PR. In fact, you have to work really hard to make something look easy. Journalism may look a soft option from afar, but we don’t see the huge amount of preparation that goes into finding, sifting and presenting the facts. It could be argued that the real work is unseen, where the journalist decides which bits NOT to publish and exactly what should go unsaid.
Yes, it’s the silences that are your best friend. A lesson our friend from Hill and Knowlton should take heed of.
About the Author
Gina Sharp has always been ahead of the public relations curve. Not that she planned it like that. At 20 she talked her way into a job at one of Europe’s first high tech public relations firms, BIPR in London, where she became the agency’s youngest ever account director. She helped to create brands such as Epson, NCR, IBM, Neve Electronics, Bose, Sony UK, Sun Alliance, Shiva, Pace, Fujitsu and Sage. When the agency was acquired by the Shandwick Group two years later, it gave her the opportunity to gain wider experience, devising pan-European campaigns for multinationals. However, because Gina wouldn’t conform, she came up against agency hierarchy that she regularly sidestepped in her clients’ best interests. This approach did exasperate her management team and her in-house nickname of ‘the little revolutionary’ stuck. However, the clients appreciated the difference.