In today’s world where social media posts can go viral and give a platform to the original poster of the content, people who contribute meaningful responses to those posts also deserve credit for their contributions.
When we comment on a public forum, what we say could be seen by anyone. This is something we all need to bear in mind when making comments. At the same time, if we make an insightful or interesting contribution to something that goes viral, we deserve the opportunity to have our name and professional expertise mentioned wherever the news piece appears.
Social Media As News
Social media can become news and ultimately, isn’t that what we want our posts to become? We want our posts to ‘go viral’ and when they do, we rightly expect to be cited for our good work. We want our name and business to be plastered all over the internet and even pick up a nice chunk of links to boost our SEO efforts.
It stands to reason that anybody offering useful commentary, moving the debate forward and catching the eye of a journalist enough that they include it in their piece deserves to be credited for their contribution. After all, without such contributions, the crying SEO LinkedIn post could not have gone viral.
So unless the person commenting on a viral social media post has requested to be anonymous, the source of a quote should always be stated.
Quoting Social Media Comments
I’m talking specifically about this story by CNBC covers the most recent newsworthy and viral post to spill off LinkedIn and into mainstream outlets.The crying CEO from last week caused a right kerfuffle when his post about how laying off several staff had affected him. Many sympathised, others ridiculed him for posting a picture of his crying face on LinkedIn and others questioned why it seemed he was making the whole situation about himself and not helping the employees he’s cut off.
When talking about the CEO, CNBC named the CEO’s company, where it operates and included a named quote from one of his former employees. CNBC also quoted from a LinkedIn user who commented on the CEO’s social media post without attributing the quote to them.
If a publication is going to promote the crying CEO and analyse his possible motivations, even including quotes from third party individuals like a ‘professor of organizational[sic] behavior[sic]’, mentioning the institution they work for, it also needs to approach anyone they wish to quote from the original LinkedIn post and give them credit, even if not mentioning the company they work for.
Get permission, use the quote
If the commenter doesn’t want to be named
- Find someone who is willing to go on record
- Don’t mention the company they work for and say they preferred not to be named
Anything said on LinkedIn, especially on a public post like the crying CEO’s is in the public domain. Sometimes it’s semi public depending on privacy settings, but if it’s available to the 830 million LinkedIn members, it’s definitely public.
When we reply to these posts, we need to remember that what we say could be seen by anyone. The person who replied with a point of view CNBC saw fit to quote also deserves their time in the spotlight. If they would rather not take it, see above.
Ultimately, the crying CEO has been successful in his primary goal which was to promote his business and there’s no shame in that. We can all question his methods and it sounds like he’s also reflecting on the way he went about his original LinkedIn post.
If our comments are insightful and productive enough in furthering a discussion that they are quoted by a major news outlet, we should be named, just like the original poster that got his free promotion and professionals approached to make comments also get to promote their knowledge and organisation if they so choose.
Social media can become news and ultimately, isn’t that what we want our posts to become? We want our posts to ‘go viral’ and when they do, if other people have posted quotable comments, they deserve their share of the limelight.