Getting the Wheels of Social Media Turning

Yesterday I was honoured to be part of a panel on
social media at The Infrastructure Health and Safety
Association Fleet Safety Council’s Annual Educational
Conference in London, ON.

My fellow panellists – Al Goodhall, a commercial truck
driver and 2010 Winner of Driver of the Year for the
Central Chapter, and Lorne Honickman, lawyer and
very familiar face from his days at City-TV as the legal
reporter and now host of CourtTV and Legal Briefs –
and I discussed the whys and how-tos of using social
media. With a very healthy dose of “holy crap, you need
to be careful” thrown in by Mr. Honickman. And rightly so.
As he told the crowd, “the Internet and social media is
like the Wild West” and he wasn’t so sure it was going to
be tamed.

Mr. Honickman specializes in the legal implications of
social media use and his examples of how fast an
off- the-cuff comment can turn into a legal nightmare did
make people stop and think. Our panel moderator,
Lou Smyrlis, Editor of Truck News, did an on the spot
poll at the end of the session and everyone agreed that
the legal implications did worry them and would make
them stop and pay closer attention to how they were
using social media.

One of the points that I made during the presentation
was that you shouldn’t put anything out there, regardless
of how you do it, social media or otherwise, that you
wouldn’t want in the newspaper tomorrow. It is all too
easy with social media to just send a comment “out there.”
Something that you would never dream of saying face-to-face
or even in an email. And with the ability to hide behind
usernames and anonymity, it can be a free-for-all. Although
Mr. Honickman said they can track you down if they need to.
(Just like a sheriff on horseback!)

I found it interesting to hear both my co-panellists speak. Al has
been blogging and tweeting about life on the road as a trucker
and has been asked to participate in numerous industry groups
about safety and other industry issues as a result. I certainly
made a point of getting Lorne’s business card – you just never
know where that next client crisis is going to come from and
given our discussion yesterday and my research leading up
to it, it’s clear that social media will play a bigger and bigger
role both in causing a crisis and how you can deal with it,
proactively and reactively.

 

 

 

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