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Posts Tagged ‘lucinda creighton’

how not to deal with negative commentsOnly a few days before the Irish General Election, Lucinda Creighton, Deputy spokesperson on Justice with special responsibility for Immigration, Integration and Equality for Fine Gael (FG), tweeted exactly the wrong thing.

 

She tweeted that marriage was “primarily about children, main purpose being to propagate & create environment for children to grow up” and “should ensure gay couples r treated fairly and justly re tax inheritance etc & recognition by the StateBut marriage is different”.

 

For someone whose job title includes the word ‘equality’ and whose party was tipped to win the election being held a mere 6 days later this was not a smart move.

 

Needless to say a storm of outrage followed both on Twitter and Facebook, on her own profiles and FG’s profiles, and the media had a field day.

 

There were several ways FG could have dealt with this, however they chose to

(1) delete the comments on Facebook;

(2) ignore calls for her resignation saying it was not a ‘high priorty’; and

(3) said her comments were her own and nothing to do with the party.

 

So basically they did nothing other than make it worse; angering people who were upset by the comment and looking for the party’s stance on the issue.

 

FG has since said they deleted the comments on Facebook because “It’s the policy that, when it becomes apparent there’s a coordinated attack from – very obviously – the same sources, given it’s a forum for open discussion, we consciously free up space for other people to have their say.”

 

I don’t think public reaction to a sensitive issue constitutes a ‘coordinated attack’ nor do I think that Facebook has a finite amount of space requiring comments to be deleted to ‘free up space’.

 

However.

 

Creighton has not deleted any comments on her Facebook page and I have to say that some of them are extremely abusive. While I do not agree with her views, I believe people could have shown their unhappiness with her comment in a more adult fashion, which indeed some did. So I would condone abusive comments being deleted, but only the abusive comments – FG went too far by deleting any comments about the incident full stop.

 

FG had an opportunity to engage with their followers on an issue important to many and they just slammed the door and plugged their ears.

 

Some businesses refuse to move into the social media sphere because they are afraid of negative reactions and how they would deal with it. Not many companies would ever be faced with a situation this extreme but negativity can happen. The best way to deal with it, is to in fact deal with it, ignoring the issue won’t make anyone feel any better.  What FG should have done was indicate that while Ms Creighton’s views were her own, the official party view on the subject was xyz – whatever that might have been.

 

By listening to the concerns and addressing them, they could have won some of the outraged people back. As it was, some people were outraged, and then became incensed at the lack of communication – and – votes lost for FG.

 

FG did do well in the election. But could they have done better? There is no telling how much damage this incident did.

 

Take home message?


If you are faced with controversy don’t bury your head in the sand. Face up to it and respect your community enough to respond to their concerns. They might not all agree with your stance, but they will appreciate a response, and you will make them feel like you are indeed listening to them.

 

Who knows you may even get more followers as a result of listening and caring about your community.

 

A political party that listens and respond to the community? Wouldn’t that be nice….

 

 

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