Rep. Anthony Weiner is not the first politician to be plagued by a scandalous photo shared over Twitter—we all still remember former Rep. Lee. Nor is he the first public figure, private figure, or husband (or wife, for that matter). Nor will he be the last (if the number of sex scandals for politicians since former President Clinton left office proves anything it’s that the “won’t happen to me” mentality is widespread among those who make these kinds of mistakes).
Along with endless terrible puns, the Weiner saga does bring up the interesting questions and conversations. In the last couple weeks I’ve seen numerous posts about the role social media played in the scandal, including some interesting insights on how politics may look in about 15 – 20 years, when nearly everyone running for public office will have gone to college or been a young adult in the Facebook era and therefore may have to answer to the dozens (hundreds?) of potentially embarrassing photos of themselves floating around in that long, long tail.
I particularly enjoyed Jason Falls’ take on the situation—and just how wrong the media can get it when it comes to the role social plays in scandals like these.
The Unfortunate Ignorance of the Weiner Media – Jason Falls – As Jason puts it, anyone who blames Twitter for the Congressman’s public downfall may be the same type of person who thinks Twitter can act as a cure-all for their marketing. Twitter alone does not have that kind of power—there will always, always, be other factors in play. “The same reason newspapers make you ask the wrong questions. Social media had nothing … let me repeat … SOCIAL MEDIA HAD NOTHING TO DO with Anthony Weiner’s screw up. The blame for Anthony Weiner’s screw up lies in one place and one place only: Anthony Weiner. He could have texted the picture, emailed the picture, blown it up a Kinko’s and mailed it … the medium is not the culprit. The culprit is.”
The Dreaded Inbox – Mitch Joel – I used to be so smug about my inbox. So very smug. I was a master at clearing that sucker out and never had more than 10-20 emails in there at once. Sometimes less than 10. Now? Forget it, I think I am at over 1,000. The thought of it gives me panic attacks. Mitch has some great advice for fighting your inbox and winning. “If you can get it done in 60 seconds or less, do it right away. Emails that don’t require more than a few sentences to respond to get done as soon as possible and then get filed in their specific folders (or deleted). The longer emails are attended to in-between meetings, but I will set aside one hour – every day – to deal with the emails that require more writing/thinking. Lastly, I don’t beat myself up if every email doesn’t get responded to on the same day that it was received. The non-critical messages get dealt with in due process, but I do respond to every email that requires a response.”
One Word Pitch – Chris Brogan – Everyone is familiar with the dreaded “elevator pitch.” Ie, if you were trapped in an elevator with a potential customer, could you sell them on your business/product/brand/etc? Chris takes it to another level—have you ever thought about the one sentence pitch? “Our simple buyer’s sentence for Kitchen Table Companies is “your small business advisory board.” I think that sums it up reasonably well, but it doesn’t really hit the mark like these other ones. For instance, with the Apple iPod, I know exactly how I’ll be the hero. I’ll take those 1000 songs to a party and be cool for having such a great mix, for instance. With Twitter, I’ll be in the know. With GoGo, I’ll be able to work on the plane.”
Get a Job! – Cassandra Bianco – It’s graduation season, and it’s a terrible economy—particularly for job seekers (9 percent unemployment anyone?). Therefore I loved this post from Cassandra with practical tips for first time job seekers. My favorite tip of hers is quite apropos given the Weiner situation. “Check yourself, before you wreck yoself, SEO-wise. Ice Cube had that part right. For your personal SEO, A LinkedIn account is a must. Ask professors and former bosses to write recommendations. Take down the Facebook party profile picture. Make sure your Twitter stream has some interesting thoughts on industry related articles. Before going on second-round interviews, I perused through my interviewer’s Twitter stream. It secretly arms you going in—having insight on their thought process, and what interests and motivates them. Slightly creepy? Nope, it’s public online information.”