Anthony Weiner

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The Anthony Weiner incident is baffling. But it forced the traditional media’s hand a bit this week on social media. The fact the Congressman used Twitter to post what most consider an inappropriate photo of himself intended for a female that wasn’t his wife made the media pay attention to social media’s favorite conversation place. Unfortunately, many media members not only confused the coverage, but potentially biased their audiences.

Three members of the media interviewed me this week for comments on the Weiner show. My general thoughts are that if you don’t understand that anything you post on social media platforms has the potential to be seen by anyone, well, you’ll soon be left holding your wiener. How a seemingly intelligent person … an elected official no less .. would A) Take a picture of his crotch; B) Send it to someone else; and C) Do it on a public platform, completely escapes me. It has the potential to be the dumb ass move of the century.

But two of the three media members who interviewed me asked a question phrased roughly like this:

“Why does social media make people do these things?”

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.

As with marketing, Twitter is not what makes people love your brand. Neither is Facebook or blogs. The messages you send. The value you provide. The connections you facilitate and the relationships you nurture … that’s what makes people love you.

The only tool to blame in the Anthony Weiner case is Anthony Weiner.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog and signature Explore events. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://blog.innogage.com Tom Williams

    Freaking awesome blog post, Jason. Way to nail the question about “why does social media make people…” Agree that’s crazy. It’s like saying baseball bats make the mafia break knees. I also like how you didn’t whitewash anything. It is what it is. And it’s bad.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Tom. I have a tendency to cut through the bullshit. Talent or curse … not sure which. Heh.

  • Anonymous

    It shows that twitter isn’t a game. I heard about this guy but didn’t know what he had done, until I read this blog post. It seems he’s been handed a loaded gun and shot himself in the foot. 

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      And if the media were doing the story about him, they’d blame it on the gun. Heh.

  • http://www.jerichotechnology.com Michael R.H. Stewart

    Jason, you have contributed some light to an otherwise dark subject.  Thank you for weighing in on this.  I noted today (and tweeted to my 42K Twitter followers) that since this pathetic story hit the Internet, Congressmen have reduced their Twitter usage by more than 30%.  Remarkable.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Eee. That’s sad, Michael. Thanks for reporting that. Where did you find that number?

  • http://twitter.com/ktvan Katie Van Domelen

    AMEN! This focus on the platform has been bothering me FOREVER. I hate when media stories talk about people getting fired, or divorced or in fights over Facebook. It’s not about Facebook. It’s about what you said/did/whatever ON Facebook and had you done it anywhere else it would have been the same result, but maybe not the same headline. And therein lies the rub. “Person kills other person over Facebook Post” makes headlines, “Person kills other person over argument that they were having and they happen to have communicated via Facebook about it once” does not.

    Maybe I’m taking on a bit of a rant tone at this point and I apologize for that but it just drives me nuts. Social media isn’t anything new, it doesn’t make you do anything different, it just takes what you are doing and saying and makes it public and permanent. Act accordingly. End of story.

  • http://twitter.com/ktvan Katie Van Domelen

    AMEN! This focus on the platform has been bothering me FOREVER. I hate when media stories talk about people getting fired, or divorced or in fights over Facebook. It’s not about Facebook. It’s about what you said/did/whatever ON Facebook and had you done it anywhere else it would have been the same result, but maybe not the same headline. And therein lies the rub. “Person kills other person over Facebook Post” makes headlines, “Person kills other person over argument that they were having and they happen to have communicated via Facebook about it once” does not.

    Maybe I’m taking on a bit of a rant tone at this point and I apologize for that but it just drives me nuts. Social media isn’t anything new, it doesn’t make you do anything different, it just takes what you are doing and saying and makes it public and permanent. Act accordingly. End of story.

  • http://twitter.com/ktvan Katie Van Domelen

    AMEN! This focus on the platform has been bothering me FOREVER. I hate when media stories talk about people getting fired, or divorced or in fights over Facebook. It’s not about Facebook. It’s about what you said/did/whatever ON Facebook and had you done it anywhere else it would have been the same result, but maybe not the same headline. And therein lies the rub. “Person kills other person over Facebook Post” makes headlines, “Person kills other person over argument that they were having and they happen to have communicated via Facebook about it once” does not.

    Maybe I’m taking on a bit of a rant tone at this point and I apologize for that but it just drives me nuts. Social media isn’t anything new, it doesn’t make you do anything different, it just takes what you are doing and saying and makes it public and permanent. Act accordingly. End of story.

  • http://twitter.com/ktvan Katie Van Domelen

    AMEN! This focus on the platform has been bothering me FOREVER. I hate when media stories talk about people getting fired, or divorced or in fights over Facebook. It’s not about Facebook. It’s about what you said/did/whatever ON Facebook and had you done it anywhere else it would have been the same result, but maybe not the same headline. And therein lies the rub. “Person kills other person over Facebook Post” makes headlines, “Person kills other person over argument that they were having and they happen to have communicated via Facebook about it once” does not.

    Maybe I’m taking on a bit of a rant tone at this point and I apologize for that but it just drives me nuts. Social media isn’t anything new, it doesn’t make you do anything different, it just takes what you are doing and saying and makes it public and permanent. Act accordingly. End of story.

  • http://twitter.com/ktvan Katie Van Domelen

    AMEN! This focus on the platform has been bothering me FOREVER. I hate when media stories talk about people getting fired, or divorced or in fights over Facebook. It’s not about Facebook. It’s about what you said/did/whatever ON Facebook and had you done it anywhere else it would have been the same result, but maybe not the same headline. And therein lies the rub. “Person kills other person over Facebook Post” makes headlines, “Person kills other person over argument that they were having and they happen to have communicated via Facebook about it once” does not.

    Maybe I’m taking on a bit of a rant tone at this point and I apologize for that but it just drives me nuts. Social media isn’t anything new, it doesn’t make you do anything different, it just takes what you are doing and saying and makes it public and permanent. Act accordingly. End of story.

    • http://www.icheapmarketing.com iCheap Marketing & Design

      Katie, i’m agreed with your point of view, media will burn this issue 2-3 days and they will forget about it and will start a new story.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      You go girl. Heh.

  • http://www.icheapmarketing.com iCheap Marketing & Design

    Media needs these kind of stories to get business and catch viewers attention.

  • http://www.VideoBIO.com Laurinda Shaver

    Its the same reason why video games are destroying the youth.  Yes, I completely agree.  So extremely frustrating when people blame THINGS for their problems.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Love that point, Laurinda. A friend told me his little brother was an idiot because he played video games too much. I said, “No, he’s an idiot because your parents were never home, never had a conversation with him, never engaged him or got him excited about education or sports or anything else and left him so bored all he had left to do was play video games.” Took him a while to recover from that, but it was true.

  • http://twitter.com/JanetAronica Janet Aronica

    YES! Very very very well put.

  • http://twitter.com/cksyme Chris Syme

    A couple things: traditional media is a little resentful of social media, methinks. Oh, and the devil made me do it.

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