When [Insert Company]'s [Insert Controversy] blew up in the social-media sphere, it was like watching a slow-motion train wreck in warp-speed while swimming diagonally away from the train -- had it been a boat instead of a train -- during Shark Week. The upside? Plenty of teachable moments. Here are some of the takeaways we can all ... take away:
1. Fans are a lot like fans.
[Insert Company] technically has a lot of Facebook fans, but as [Insert Controversy] showed, they aren't truly engaged fans -- and so they showed scant loyalty when [Insert Controversy] happened. What [Insert Company] is only now realizing is that social-media fans are very similar to electric fans, in that you have to plug them in and turn them on or they're useless. Also, in both cases, never put your finger in a fan (unless the fan has opted-in or you've got one of those cool bladeless Dyson fans).
2. In the Engagement Economy, customers who find your content engaging will engage more engagingly.
Or, to put that another way...
3. Low engagement is inversely proportional to high engagement.
4. In the Attention Economy, your customers will mostly ignore you -- until they suddenly pay attention the second you screw up.
5. You need to empower your employees to give themselves the permission to pay attention to the Attention Economy -- in real-time.
6. Real-time real-is real-money.
When [Insert Company]'s customers started tweeting complaints about [Insert Controversy], [Insert Company] apparently deployed its HADLRT (Half-A-Day-Later Response Team) as opposed to its RTRT (Real-Time Response Team). #real-fail
7. Sometimes 'real-time' isn't fast enough.
Everybody agrees that [Insert Company] didn't react quickly enough when [Insert Controversy] blew up. Personally, I think management should have pre-reacted. That's why Martha, Britney and I at Dumenco & Daughters Consultants work so hard to help Fortune 500 companies build PTRTs (Pre-Time Response Teams), which generate boilerplate apologetic messaging about how the [Insert Controversy] "does not reflect the values of our company" before the inevitable [Insert Controversy].
8. In the Permission Economy, permissiveness is not the same as permission.
While [Insert Company]'s [Insert Controversy] was bad enough, things only got worse when Gawker published several now-notorious photos of [Insert Company]'s CEO late last week. Which is why I proactively advise executives at all my client companies to pre-not-publish photos of themselves in bondage gear on Craigslist or elsewhere—even if that attire is considered acceptable in board meetings and on Casual Fridays, as was apparently the case at [Insert Company].
9. Something something about mobile something something.
According to a recent study, at any given moment during the workday, 28% of all workers are time-shifting their attention away from the current task at hand so as to emotionally "check-in" to post-now place-based activities after work, where 97% of them will fully engage with their surroundings only 14% of the time thanks to their heavy on-site use of mobile devices. Um ... not sure why I brought that up. Moving on ...
10. The Mobile-Centric Place-Shifted Real-Time Permissattention Economy waits for no one.
Which is why I urge you to learn more about all of the above by ordering a copy of my new white paper, "Engaging with Teachable Social-Media Moments: A Comprehensive Guide." For a limited time you can get 20% off the regular price of $395 if you retweet my tweet linking to my Tumblr, where I mention the discount code I've posted on Google+ and Facebook. (I accept cash only -- in small, unmarked bills, please.)
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.