Social Media Listening – A lesson by U.S. Army Ranger School

When is it appropriate to respond to trolls? And in what way?

This week I have been closely watching all the press surrounding the first two women ever to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger school. Capt. Kristen Griest, a military police officer, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot just completed an incredibly grueling training set. There are a lot of congratulations, but just as many naysayers and those who wish to spout untruths, opinions as fact, and general misogynistic rudeness!

This was expected of course. The debate surrounding women in uniform, women in combat roles, women serving on the frontlines of America’s wars, and women’s capability in general seems to be open for discussion. Women serve in all our Armed Forces. Women have served on the frontlines in combat. Period. They have simply done so without the same designations their male counterparts have, without the same jobs in the military. But they have proven capable, competent, solid Soldiers.

 Soldiers on the Ranger Course at Camp Rudder on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Aug. 6, 2015. 1st Lts. Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver will graduate Aug. 21, 2015 as Rangers. (U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY PFC. YVETTE ZABALA-GARRIGA)

Soldiers on the Ranger Course at Camp Rudder on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Aug. 6, 2015. Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver will graduate Aug. 21, 2015 as Rangers. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Yvette  Zabala-Garriga)

As for the Social Media response to those who inevitably will belittle the accomplishment, the Social Media Manager for the U.S. Army Fort Benning Facebook page absolutely OWNED the conversation. They responded to all misinformed naysayers by correcting with factual information, politely but in a manner that did not allow for interpretation. A write up on the topic was done just after on  Army Fort Benning Shuts Down Misogynist Trolls .

Their ability to respond immediately and continuously allowed for control of the conversation. Yes, there were still more posts, more voices adding to the conversation, more negativity. But to each post that was incorrect or deserved a response from the schoolhouse, they got it. Other citizens defended the rigors of the training, the standards being equal for men and women, the timelines and more. But the voice of the official owner of the platform rang loudly.

Then the Ranger school’s number two in command, Maj. Jim Hathaway, wrote a response to the negative comments laying out fact vs fiction. Read it over at Ranger School Officer Combats Rumors About How Women Passed In Pointed Facebook Post . Once again, he did so in a professional manner but left no room for reasonable rebuttal.
Hathaway closed his remarks by saying, “No matter what we at Ranger School say the non-believers will still be non-believers. We could have invited each of you to guest walk the entire course, and you would still not believe, we could have video recorded every patrol and you would still say that we “gave” it away. Nothing we say will change your opinion.”

We as Social Media professionals must be able to listen to our customers, respond to them and hopefully be able to own the conversation, make right where we can and offer accurate truthful information where we can’t.

How would you have handled this situation? Did they perform a textbook response? Leave a comment below.


Company restrictions vs timely sharing

The challenge of working within the confines of a company’s guidelines can sometimes hinder producing timely social media content.

This is a challenge that is all too real in my daily work. We struggle to share relevant, useful, informative posts and content while ensuring we are being fair and impartial to all news outlets. Of course, we are cognizant of the brand we represent and think twice before hitting the submit button.

pluto, new horizons team celebrate

Mashup of colored images of Pluto and the New Horizons team as they celebrate the success of the mission. (Photos courtesy of NASA)

The article on Wired’s website is an exploration of a public agency who may or may not have shown favoritism toward one social media platform. It’s a fascinating read! Take a moment. NASA’s Social Media Strategy is Genius-And Kinda Maddening | Wired

What has been your experience with company culture vs timely sharing of information? Do you share certain information to certain platforms because of the intended target audience on each? Or do you rework the same topic to appeal to that demographic? Leave your thoughts below.

On the Quest for Harmony

Harmony Work-Life Balance

I recently watched a TED talk presented by Nigel Marsh titled “How to Make Work-Life Balance Work“. In light of some upheaval during the past week, I found it a poignant topic. Am I in the right line of work? Am I pursuing it properly? What about my commitments outside my business?

Marsh argues that, “Certain job and career choices are fundamentally incompatible with being meaningfully engaged on a day-to-day basis with a young family.” He also posits that a work-life balance does not mean the same things to every human being on the planet. I too alluded to that sentiment in my previous post on this topic. In addition, his comment stuck with me that being balanced doesn’t mean I have to do a full 180 degree turn to find some solace. Continue reading

The Hope of Great Things to Come

Champagne ToastCompleting projects makes me feel great! That’s because there are so many inherent functions that follow.

As you may know by now, I set a deadline of January 15, 2014 to launch my online course geared toward DIY business owners who want someone to show them how to create, maintain and promote their online presence. It’s called Website Design by Anna Doo and you can find it by clicking on the link Continue reading