Navigating the Downsides of Social Media in Regards to Real and Fake Allegations
One of the greatest teaching tools comes in the form of the story. We have all been told stories from as far back as we can remember. Some were sad, some uplifting; some were for pure entertainment while most had some sort of message. The story, or parable if you will, of a man who was accused of gossip and slander and couldn’t quite understand the severity of his actions goes on to describe how he was instructed to scatter the feathers of a pillow into the wind. He was later asked to gather those very feathers but of course failed to do as there were so many and the wind had already blown many of them far away. The moral: so is the fate of gossip. Once it is out, it is impossible to retract. We are all learning the repercussions of such situations the hard way, over and over again, as words are carelessly put out there on the various social media platforms for the entire world to access. Sometimes we regret posting it, but once it is out it’s too late; the damage has been done.
This phenomenon is affecting billions of people across the globe both in their personal and professional lives. Businesses are closing as the result of (sometimes fake) slander and have a difficult time getting back on their feet. The diamond and jewelry industry is no different, with several establishments falling prey to the outpour of real and fake news that is delivered so quickly and so broadly that any sort of inflation cannot possibly be controlled and instantly gets blown out of proportion causing immense damage.
Earlier on this year, a company made headlines when a few customers claimed that their diamonds had been switched for moissanite, or that their repairs had been ruined. While these allegations may very well be true, the turn the media took very quickly made this understood as an orchestrated scheme by the company to switch all diamonds for invaluable stones. This unfortunate turn of events has shed light on this modern and quite terrifying phenomenon that is plaguing individuals and businesses around the world.
Every industry experiences inaccuracies and oversights, and they have a responsibility to do whatever they can to correct their mistakes. However, there is a stark difference between a company experiencing a few mishaps amongst the enormous volume they deal with and the press portraying them as a scandalous and dishonest corporation. The individuals that had to deal with these problems absolutely need to be compensated, but the idea that an esteemed establishment behaves in such a way intentionally, which was essentially the message perceived by the media, is quite frankly ludicrous. This unfortunately was the case, and sane logical thinking seemed to be thrown out the window.
Given no other choice, the company that was dealing with these allegations publicly came out with a response that called out the hurtful and magnified allegations against them whilst stating that any and all acts of misconduct are dealt with hastily and efficiently. There are those, however, who felt that this statement was not enough. Consumers no longer trusted these jewelers and did not want to hear them defending themselves and letting the public know that if and when something inappropriate occurs it will be handled correctly. The CEO of that organization directly addressed the initial allegations against the company. He visited one of the consumers who who was sure their diamond had been switched with another stone of lower value. Personalizing the situation breaks down barriers and helps erase grudges and fears. Furthermore, he was able to ensure the customers were properly compensated and the issue was dealt with professionally. Large and small companies need to all value their consumers and ensure they are content.
The name of this company wasn't mentioned as their is no reason to contribute further towards the negative reputation that was being developed. The way in which the story had been blown out of proportion had left consumers feeling incredibly vulnerable, which required personal intervention instead of the colder and more vague corporate response.
With so many consumers brainwashed by stories and items they are fed on a daily basis via social media, the diamond industry is constantly battling a stained image and is endlessly proving its innocence and integrity. Old school advertising and marketing is no longer applicable in the world we now live in. Sending your message is simply not enough. You need to know your clientele, what they are being fed, and counter any negative information with wholesome, authentic, and positive details. This is the only way to navigate the wild world of the Internet, the chartered yet incredibly dangerous waters of social media, and to reclaim the position as an organization aiming to provide credible products and to create positive change. Every company out there has some sort of an agenda. Use the Internet, follow Social, but be smart and take the information you learn online with a grain of salt.
This piece is a rewrite of a great article written by Rob Bates of JCK.