Monthly Archives: February 2013

Manti Te’O Catfishing Scandal

Social Media & Public Relations Specialist Kris Ruby of Ruby Media Group on Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o’s Girlfriend Hoax & Catfish Scandal 

The world of Internet Dating has changed. Catfishing is here to stay- whether you are a pro football player or someone in the mid west, cat fishing can happen to just about anyone. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself from becoming the next victim of a cat fishing scandal.What Social Media lessons can we all learn from this hoax?

1. Always do background checks on your dates. Background checks are cost effective and can save you time and much heartache in the long run!

2. If you are going to engage in Internet dating, utilize social video platforms including FaceTime & Skype to ensure you are actually speaking with a “real” person who is who they say they are.

3. If someone claims to have a medical illness or is on the verge of “death” find out what hospital they are staying at and call the hospital. This is often the first way that many cat fishing scandals are found out when the boyfriend calls the hospital and finds out their is no record of their alleged Internet “girlfriend” staying there.

4. If you meet someone on an Internet dating site, connect with them on multiple social media platforms, not just one. It will be much harder for them to keep up a lie on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter AND LinkedIN then keeping up a lie on just one network. 0 connections on LinkedIN or a lack of professional resume on LinkedIN is often a dead giveaway you might be involved in a catfish scandal.

Carnival Public Relations Crisis

Carnival Public Relations Crisis

During such a fast paced media environment, people expect answers quickly in a crisis. If they are not getting answers quickly, people are will turn to social media to revolt. This is exactly what happened with the Carnival Cruise Line when a cruise ship from its Costa subsidiary sunk off the coast of Italy, resulting in loss of life and dramatic pictures of the ship turned on its side were released. Did we mention there were also 4,200 tweeting and FB posting passengers?

Carnival was extremely slow and ineffective in responding to the situation. The company’s CEO took days to address the public and issue a statement expressing sadness and the subpar conditions for passengers still on the ship. The CEO’s statement did not include an apology or promise any appropriate action steps to remedy the situation (offering a free robe or $500 is less then adequate).

A strong crisis communications plan is critical to have in place.  The company did not have a public relations team ready for a crisis situation. Here are the action steps Carnival should take from a PR perspective to turn this around:

  1. Implement a crisis PR strategy and hire a team to execute the plan. If they do not wish to put one together internally, it would be beneficial to hire an external PR Team who specializes in crisis PR.
  2. Release a timely press release to the media. Make the CEO accessible and show that he is vested in what happened and that he is implementing a solution.
  3. Offer the passengers something of value, not a $500 voucher. This will only make the situation worse!

At your company, always be prepared for something to go wrong.  Every day brings new challenges, especially in a fast paced digital environment. A spokesperson, aside from the CEO, should be prepared to give a briefing to the public and speak on behalf of the company if any type of crisis situation occurs.  Your crisis communication team should be prepared to send out press releases immediately and not waste ANY TIME! Furthermore, the crisis PR team should have a solid social media strategy integrated into the plan to respond to negative tweets such as the one below!