brian williamsIf you doubt the power of social media, a quick look at recent events regarding Brian Williams should put any doubt to rest. If it weren’t for people speaking out, primarily on Facebook and Twitter, it’s likely Williams would not be taking temporary leave from his post at NBC.
According to reports, Brian Williams shot down his credibility by telling and retelling a story that simply is not true. He claimed several years ago he had been shot down in a helicopter in Iraq.
I’ve been a fan of Brian Williams for years. I really like his reporting style, am in awe of his witty sense of humor and thought him to be a man of very high integrity. I don’t know if I will trust his reporting ever again.
The interesting thing is this; had it not been for posts by soldiers, primarily on Facebook, discounting the claims, Williams would have remained one of the most believable NBC Nightly News anchors. Once soldiers posted conflicting accounts of Williams’ story, other doubters surfaced regarding the truth in his reporting.
Williams’ attempt at an apology was weak at best. This added fuel to the fire.
Ironically, many celebrities, politicians, religious leaders and corporate heads have participated in activities that tarnish their reputation, but after enough time passes, the public seems to forget how outlandish their behavior actually is. Several have been reelected, retained their position in their religious organization as if nothing happened or received huge bonus packages to continue on with the very company that was embarrassed by their reprehensible behavior.
Case in point; Chris Brown was demonized on social media after he severely beat Rihanna; and rightfully so.  There was absolutely no excuse whatsoever for what Brown did.
There was a huge uproar and it appeared as if his career was over… until enough time passed. Soon he was appearing on the stage at award shows and back on track with his career. Had Brown been smart he would have done all he could to keep his behaviors in tack, but after a period of time he just couldn’t stay out of trouble and ended up in jail.
What about Anthony Weiner? He nearly destroyed his career with his sexting selfies. He was all the buzz on social media the first time he was “exposed.” His newlywed wife stood by his side during the grueling process of gaining back public favor even after he resigned from his congressional position. .
Again, after enough time passed, it seemed the public forgot. Weiner ran for mayor, emerged as a frontrunner, but again destroyed the public’s trust when images once again surfaced. What a wiener.
On the flip side, social media has made careers virtually overnight. Flappy Bird, which launched in May 2013, quickly became the number-one free app in Apple’s App Story because of a wave of funny tweets; the kind that people have to retweet again and again.
And no matter what you think about Justin Bieber, had it not been for Bieber posting homemade videos on YouTube he would not have been discovered by his current manager, Scooter Braun, in 2007.
Although both Flappy Bird and Justin Bieber’s rise to instant fame is rare, it does show the power of social media.
Until more is revealed we won’t know what will happen to Brian Williams, but if history tells the story, he will be forgiven by many fans and definitely won’t be by others.
If history is any indicator, there are going to be other unknowns who achieve incredible visibility after a life of obscurity by the shares from others.
No matter what any of us wants, believes, or thinks, social media is here to stay and forces a level of transparency we can’t escape.
The reality is this; good or bad, you never know what will go viral on social media. The more enticing the story, the more likely it will go viral. The more a celebrity falls from grace the more likely the story will go viral. The more talented someone is and the more they are willing to showcase their talent online, the more likely they could have others take their talent viral.
It’s the same with your business. Are you using Social Media effectively? Actually, are you using it at all? If not, isn’t it time to learn how to get the most from social media?
What’s your take on the power of social media?