Public relations, even if it’s not “new media” relations, means representing your clients or company everywhere, all the time. Your personal accounts still reflect on the company just as much as you do when your’e in person talking to someone. It’s the nature of the beast. Any executive position, in fact, is reflective of the company, even in personal social media circles, but with PR, no matter your job title, you are representing the company.
So when a PR executive, in this case the (now former) PR Director of InterActiveCorp made a questionable, racist tweet just before boarding a 10-hour flight, it caused a firestorm that the company had to deal with while she was unavailable and in the air. In fact, this woman lost her job while out of communication on her flight to Africa. The trip was, in fact, the subject of the tweet in question.
Sadly (for the company), they had overlooked her penchant for posting socially questionable content on her Twitter and other social media profiles. Stuff that even non-PR folks would find reason enough to unfriend her due to her obvious lack of tact and probable mental instability.
It’s amazing to me that in today’s connected world, there are still so many people in leadership positions that are so inept with social media. It’s especially eye-opening when some of these people are not only in those positions, but are also the ones we’d expect to understand the impact of social media, yet they still do moronic things with it.
Businesses should be careful to vet their employees and to watch their social media use to be sure they are representing the company well. It’s reputation management for the company and can help avoid near-disastrous situations such as that which IAC narrowly avoided.