Inside PR 2.87: We won’t delete your comments


It’s been an interesting week around the web with lessons about good and not-so-good communications.  Gini mentions the blog post she wrote about the Susan G. Komen Foundation and how its decision to unplug their funding from Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screenings created a huge outpouring of support for Planned Parenthood and a reputation issue for Komen.

She talks about how poorly Komen handled communications around the issue including deleting comments from its Facebook page. She and a few people tried a test where they posted comments – from benign to negative – and took screen captures of their posts.  The organization removed them all. She wonders why Komen didn’t consult with its communications advisors in advance to develop scenarios, messages and a crisis plan.

By now most of us have heard that based on the outcry, Komen reversed its decision.

We all agree deleting comments after the fact is one of the worst things organizations can do and they should decide at the outset whether or not they’ll accept comments and build trust via an open conversation.

Joe talks about Radio Royal York’s public video welcome to Blissdom organizers who were visiting Toronto.  He hasn’t decided if it’s a mistake or a good way to engage with a customer and asks if anyone else had seen something similar.  However, the situation is somewhat moot. At the time of writing, the video has been removed.

In case you missed it, our last topic is the upcoming Facebook IPO and the company’s disclosure that the majority of its revenue comes from ad dollars.

In fact, the big three social media players – Facebook, Twitter and Google+ – are all media companies of sorts and have finally figured out now they monetize their innovations – by selling us (and our data). There’s no doubt they’re great networks that extend the scope of our relationships, but we are still the product.

Martin wonders how they’ll deal with large policy issues like freedom of speech and feels governments should monitor the situation to ensure we keep the Internet open.  Joe isn’t happy with that type of intervention – he’d rather see governments focus on education and standards.

Next week is Social Media Week in various cities around the world.  Here’s where to get a full list of events.  And if you’re in Toronto on February 17, Third Tuesday Toronto is hosting a breakfast event on open government featuring Tony Clement, M.P., President of the Treasury Board of Canada. It should be a lively discussion.

And that’s a wrap! We’ll talk to you next week.


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Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

This week’s episode was produced by Kristine Simpson.