COLUMN: Watch your mouth online


Damage control from professionals in the public relations field is by no means a new phenomenon — people have needed help repairing their reputations from scandals for years.

However, with the rise of social media in the last decades, the task has become a job of 24-hour monitoring.

President Trump has been a fairly good example of just how tough it can be for PR professionals to reign in their clients. For example, Trump tweeted a 14 second video mocking former Vice President Joe Biden for his recent scandals about his behavior toward women last Thursday.

The video included an edited photo of Biden coming up behind the real Biden with his hands on his shoulder while he was giving his first public statement since accusations of him touching women have come out.

The video was incredibly unprofessional for someone who holds the position of the president of the United States. He has consistently posted questionable things on social media, making it hard for me to understand how people can still take him seriously.

Trump has had his fair share of scandals, and his poor use of social media continues to get him in trouble. Biden even responded back to his tweet saying, “I see that you are on the job and presidential, as always.”

Even though Trump may not tarnish his reputation by his questionable use of social media because of how dedicated his followers are, I think the controversy grants an opportunity to look at how PR personnel have to deal with people of power who get themselves into sticky situations because of how fast things spread on the internet nowadays. I would bet every time Trump hits send on any tweet, his PR team holds its breath.

You hear about it over and over again — about how the things you post on social media when you’re young can come back to bite you. It’s easy to forget that how you act on social media could potentially reach millions of people at a time.

White House staffers are constantly having to do damage control for posts like Trump’s. This is a fairly new phenomenon since social media has really taken off and become something that could ruin a person’s reputation with one click of a button.

When in a position of power, it can be easy to forget there are countless people looking to you every day. While oftentimes proactive PR is a goal of anyone working in the field, to get ahead of the media coverage and get that good word out in the first place, it’s not realistic to think you’ll never have to do damage control once something unexpected happens.

Because you never know where you are going to be 10 years down the line, being on your best behavior on social media from the very second you make an account is pertinent. At the end of the day, your social media account is all your own, and you can do with it as you please. Your reputation is also your burden to bear, and there may not always be a way to pick up the pieces.

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