Managing Phony Issues & Conflict on Social Media
During Clinic #96 on “Protect Your Work from Citizen Anger (and Politics!)”, we outlined how to prevent being end-run by your projects’ opponents.
More importantly, how to see end-runs as a symptom of a problem — rather than the problem itself.
If minimizing pseudo-input is key, what can professionals do about the massive amounts of phony issues being slung all over Social Media?
This is worth a whole webinar of its own! (In fact, it will be the crux of the Clinic #99.)
There is SO much mis-information on the Internet, much of which your public cannot decipher from facts related to your work — don’t think you’re going to combat that volume of content.
But you can get pretty close!
What you can do, is take note. A lot of notes actually.
Keep a running list of what pseudo-issues are being shared on Social Media.
Use Social Media as a listening device — even if most of what you’re hearing is garbage.
Try to identify who is generating and perpetuating these issues. (Not publicly, but for your own understanding of what communication lapses your team isn’t already aware of.)
If fake issues circulating (about your project) are getting ANY traction on the web, you need to know it!
You can’t possibly address these phony issues, and help the public see them as “pseudo-input” if you aren’t even aware of them.
Use Social Media, to deepen your understanding of the whole ecosystem of phony issues, mis-information, or misunderstandings and the people who promote them.
Even though these issues are misleading for stakeholders, and qualify as “pseudo-input”, you have to publicly identify each issue as such before soliciting for real input.
If an online user says “No, don’t do it!” — that isn’t input unless you:
- – Didn’t anticipate that reaction from anyone.
- – Expected to hear that from other stakeholders, but not THAT stakeholder.
- – Had no idea this person, group, or sister agency saw themselves affected by your project.
If that’s the case, then that’s a symptom that you also need to have a better handle on who your PAIs (Potentially Affected Interests) are, and how they see your organization and Mission (Clinic #95)… As well as what pseudo-issues they are conflating with bona fide issues.
Granted, scanning Social Media and online outlets for phony issues isn’t exactly fun, nor where your expertise is…
However, once you demonstrate that you have a complete handle on nearly all the pseudo-input out there, have adequate responses to each, you’ll help clarify what is real input, and what is pseudo-input, for the rest of the public.
Do that, and you’ll have made some serious progress!
Learn more about:
- – preventing pseudo-input,
- – dealing with stakeholder emotions, and of course
- – how to keep politics from interfering with your effectiveness
by selecting from nearly 100 topics in our Clinic Library.