Managing elephant-sized social media blunders

Global brand strategist Jonathan Salem Baskin can’t help but scratch his head over the rationale behind the controversial social media dispatch from GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons. The flamboyant CEO sparked a backlash recently when he posted a video link to his elephant shoot in Kenya Zimbabwe.

Baskin offers the following advice on how small businesses can prevent or manage social media blunders.

Q: Are social media posts pertaining to a business owner’s non-business doings relevant to consumers?

A: It is a sideshow. Just because there’s (social) media that helps blur those things doesn’t mean you have to fall for it. YouTube doesn’t care if your employees humiliate themselves. The stupider you are, the happier these platforms are because it creates buzz and traffic. You don’t make any money from that.

Q: What about the old argument that no press is bad press?

A: That’s a cliché quote from 50 years ago. If anything, it’s either at best neutral and at worst it turns people off. Aren’t half the people in America women? The last time I checked — so he’s already writing off half of America with his (prior) stupid shenanigans. Now he wants to write off anybody who loves animals. What is the attention good for?

Timing your startup

– Chris Dixon is co-founder of Hunch and founder of Founder Collective, and an investor in many early-stage companies like Skype and Foursquare. Previously he co-founded Siteadvisor, which was acquired by McAfee. This blog originally appeared on cdixon.org. The views expressed are his own. –

I never had the opportunity to invest in YouTube but I have to admit that if I did I probably would have passed (which of course would have been a huge mistake). I’d been around the Web long enough to remember the dozens of companies before YouTube that tried to create crowdsourced video sites and failed. Based on “pattern recognition” (a dangerous thing to rely on), I was deeply skeptical of the space.

What I failed to appreciate was that the prior crowdsourced video sites were ahead of their time. YouTube built a great product, but, more importantly, got the market timing just right. By 2005, all the pieces were in place to enable crowdsourced video – the proliferation of home broadband, digital camcorders, a version of Flash where videos “just worked,” copyrighted Web content that could be exported to YouTube, and blogs that wanted to embed videos.