Timing is critical in social media: A lesson from Chrissy Teigen
Monday, October 27, 2014
Nobody knows from exactly when social media became the primary source for "up-to-the-second" news, but everybody recognizes the power of social media in communications. Twitter is one of the most powerful tools where people receive news updates. According to Twitter's official website, there are 271 million monthly active users on Twitter, and the website publishes 500 million tweets per day.
With hundreds of millions of people sending out hundreds of millions of tweets every day, businesses and public figures are usually meticulous in what they share on Twitter. It is no doubt that sharing quality content is critically important, but releasing the right message in the right time is also vital in social media communications.
Chrissy Teigen, for example, is a celebrity who used to be very active on Twitter. She tweeted good content and was engaging with her followers until she made a controversial comment about the high-profile shooting in Ottawa on Twitter.
According to People magazine, Teigen has now quit Twitter after she received death threats following her tweet about the shooting in Ottawa:
active shooting in Canada, or as we call it in america, wednesday
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) October 22, 2014
Her tweet was retweeted more than 1,600 times and favorited by more than 2,800 users on Twitter, with responses of death threats and many criticisms. Teigen then jumped into a conversation about gun control issues in America. The criticisms, however, did not end. Finally, she decided to quit Twitter with the following tweet:
I feel sick. Bye Twitter. Taking my talents to instagram.
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) October 23, 2014
What went wrong with Teigen's tweet? Why there were so many criticisms? Besides her insensitive tone, bad timing is another contributing factor — she tweeted when the victims were still in the hospital. Would her statement yield a different result if she tweeted after the Canadian police lifted the lockdown in Ottawa? Possibly.
Here is another real-life example about timing.
A close friend called me on the phone the other day after his father had just passed away. He was sobbing on the other side. All he needed was to have somebody listening to him, allowing him to release his feelings with tears. Later, he told me he was a little bit upset with his wife because his wife told him to remain strong and move on.
What was said by my friend's wife was indeed true. Life must go on, right? Her comments, however, just came a little too early while my friend was still in need of comfort. It would be better if she could have waited for just a few more days to say the same thing. Would you agree?
Referring back to social media communications, the good news is people are able to pick the right time to release a message. Facebook as well as the other social media management platforms (e.g., HootSuite and TweetDeck), for example, allow users to pick a time when they want to release an update because obviously timing is important.
If people want to wait for the "right" time to release a message in the future, they can do that. Meanwhile, if the analytics reveal that the audience usually read updates between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, they should probably wait until Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon to release a message to maximize their reach.
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