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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Arrested for NOT Tweeting?


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When Tweet Time Becomes Jail Time

It's probably a first, getting arrested for NOT tweeting. This also falls into the category of: be careful what you wish for, especially if it's on a social network.

Last week Def Jam record label executive James Roppo tweeted that 15-year-old Canadian pop singer sensation Justin Bieber would be signing autographs at a Long Island, NY mall clothing store. Screaming teeny-boppers began lining up as early as 7 hours before the event.

As the day grew longer, the crowd -- mostly pre-teens and teens -- reached an estimated 10,000. A sudden surge forward caused a stampede of youngsters worried they would not get in to see their idol. Police, fearing injuries, asked Roppo to re-tweet that the event was cancelled. He refused. It took tweets by Bieber himself, who was prevented by authorities from entering the Mall, to get word out to social networks for teens stay away from the event. "They are not allowing me to come into the mall," Bieber tweeted. "The event...is cancelled. I don't want anyone hurt."

Only minor injuries were reported. But Roppo was arrested by authorities and faces potential charges of reckless endangerment, criminal nuisance, obstruction of government administration and endangering the welfare of children. Def Jam Records later issued a statement citing the safety concerns of "the police and the Fire Marshal" that "prohibited the event from taking place."

Could it be, however, that the cause for the cancellation was the use of social media in the first place that excited young fans into a frenzy? The instantaneous delivery to thousands of tweeters enamored with the teen heartthrob, and their subsequent real-time re-tweeting of news of the Bieber appearance, might well have been its own firestorm in the making.

Another question -- about both the medium and the communication -- is what responsibility did Roppo or others have to continue communicating?

One of CommCore Consulting Group's first rules of communication is to consider all potential implications before you decide how to reach out. On reflection, might not Roppo and Bieber realized that exciting thousands of impressionable young fans at an instant on their mobile devices and computers could proliferate into a potential crisis? We wonder if Roppo was in essence shouting "fire" in what became a crowded theater, one of the exceptions to First Amendment rights. What do you think?

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Carrie Prejean - not a good moment for Media Training

Talk about programming and bad media training, Carrie Prejean gave a bad name to a serious craft last week in the interview on the "Larry King Show." See YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1R0a9xq6uek

While we weren't part of the prep, it was pretty obvious that the former Ms. California USA was pre-programmed to not answer any questions about what went on in the actual negotiations between her side and the Miss USA pageant. When Larry King asked about what motivated Carrie to enter mediation, Ms. Prejean immediately went to default mode and interpreted the question as one asking about the content of the mediation, which was off-limits.

Not answering certain questions is an appropriate response in specific circumstances, i.e. when asked about proprietary information, classified information, studies not completed, litigation, personal information and several other subjects. But it should not be invoked when asked other questions.

Couple this with the pre-preprogrammed stunt of taking off the mic and walking off the set and we have to conclude that Carrie was poorly prepped and coached.

There's a reason there are terms of "earned" vs. "paid" media. If Ms. Prejean was willing to "use" Larry King, then she should understand and/or be counseled that the ticket for "free" publicity is the credible answer to some questions.

What's your view?

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Will they be flexible?

This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hold a public hearing on Social Media. The formal name of the hearing is Promotion of Food and Drug Administration-Regulated Medical Products Using the Internet and Social Media Tools (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-22618.htm).

Catchy name huh? But there's hope in the government speak. We all know how the internet and social media have dramatically changed our lives. They have provided access to information, research and data for patients and caregivers. We can be much better informed on almost all aspects of health and wellness.

Yet this explosion scares regulatory agencies such as the FDA. The Agency has enough on its plate with drug approvals, monitoring what's being used, tainted products like peanuts and spinach, dealing with approved marketing and promotion of products within label.

The hearing is the hottest ticket in DC this week. Only 60 speakers allowed, and 800 people asking for seats in an auditorium that only seats 300. From what we've heard, the FDA first wants to listen to different views - ranging from large pharmaceutical and medical device companies and their associations, to Google and Yahoo, to web site and content developers. The first day is more general, the second day is more focused on Adverse Events. After the hearings, the speakers will also add comments for the record. If you can't get there go to http://www.fdalive.com/webcast.cfm for the streaming video.

We believe that if the FDA decides it needs to create rules for social media, they should be as flexible as possible to accommodate technological changes and new applications. For example, if FDA had created rules last year, the Agency would already need to adjust due to the explosive growth of Twitter.

Here are some of the questions that FDA must grapple with:

If the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) can use Twitter, Facebook and other social media to communicate info on public health issues such as H1N1, why can't regulated drug and device companies use the same technology to communicate (perhaps with links to ensure fair balance)?

To what extent are companies responsible for technologies such as Sidewiki which make it look like information next to the company or product site might be viewed as company sponsored information? We doubt the FDA would risk a fight with Google and try to ban such web innovations?

How can Social Media help companies do a better monitoring AE's (adverse events) for their products?

Should companies be required to monitor the entire web for any mentions of their product?

We hope it's an informed and open discussion that helps FDA provide proper control and guidance for regulated products in a Wild West world.

Visit http://bit.ly/MWy5w for our Video blog on this subject.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

FDA and Social Media