Major news was made this week about James Andrews and social media, more specifically a tweet that he made while on a trip to Memphis. The internet trolls were out in full force. To the readers of Shankman.com, Gawker.com and all the other social media trolls hating on James Andrews, this post is for you.
I’m a sucker. Basically I like to think the best of the human race and give people lots of grace to make mistakes and well, be human. And I really try to do my part to make my daily interactions with people be as pleasant as possible. But sometimes I am reminded of just how unkind some people can be and it really makes me sad. I have a blog, I am on Twitter and I love Facebook for interacting with my friends. And I’m not the only one; social media is one of the fastest growing forms of media today. I think that is very valuable in connecting people on both a professional and personal level.
But like other forms of media, it can also be used by cowards and gossips. I would never say anything in any form of media that I wouldn’t say to someone’s face. (And Diddy…if by chance you are reading this…yes, it is I who said that your tweets were lame. I don’t mean that they are terrible; you just need to tweet more about your fascinating life and have more dialogue. “On my way to CSI set” is not very interesting. That’s all I meant; just trying to be helpful.)
Just like the tabloids in the grocery line that people gobble up by the millions or those awful celebrity gossip blogs on the internet, people love to form opinions about somebody based on ill-gotten facts and mis-information taken out of context. I refuse to read those rags or blogs or follow anyone on Twitter who promotes that trash.
And this is what basically happened when my husband’s recent tweet hit the internet. Did he say “I hate Memphis; it is a hell-hole of a city?” NO! He tweeted a very obscure and heavily veiled dislike for an unnamed town. The person who was initially offended by the tweet made an incorrect assumption and the readers of Shankman.com ran with it. This tweet was even major news on CBS.com. I’m amazed that half of the debate was whether or not Memphis is terrible looking town in need of a major over-haul. THAT IS NOT WHAT HE SAID! Now, what I would have said was “Some racist fool in Memphis almost got a beat-down; I hate this town!” But, that’s just me.
Anybody who uses Twitter and knows what they are doing, knows that it is a dialogue that takes place. Any sane Twitterer would have tweeted back, “What town are you in? Why do you say that?” And it would have been a conversation shared with many people. That is the beauty of Twitter and social media in general. Where it gets ugly is when people abuse it by carrying out their own vendettas against individuals, companies or groups of people.
Are we so out of touch with each other as humans that we can’t confront each other in person, if the circumstances allow? Is all human interaction reduced to emails, texts, tweets and internet slander? I suppose that is the easy thing to do because it makes the person you are attacking less human.
Many of the comments on Shankman’s blog were not constructive or thoughtful discourse about the use of social media, but were insensitive attacks against my husband’s character – someone that they don’t even know. I think that people forgot that they were talking about a real person with a real job and a family to support.
People: that is my husband of 15 years, my best friend and partner. He is a father to 2 beautiful children. He is a son, a brother and a friend to many. And he IS the Keyinfluencer; anyone who knows my husband would say that he is a master connector, network guru and social media rock star. And anyone who says otherwise is a hater.
You got something to say? Then you say it to me. My name is Sherrelle Kirkland-Andrews and I am proud to be married to James Andrews, The Keyinfluencer.
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While I commend you for sticking up for your husband, I think you missed some of the point of why the PR community was up in arms.
Your husband bills himself as the keyinfluencer, and while I don’t know him or his work personally, I have no doubt that he is quite adept at online media and influencing. That being said, as a senior member of a well respected agency, and a self-proclaimed expert, he should know better than to write an ambiguous OR clear statement about hating anything having to do with his client.
As a PR practitioner myself, I don’t like the constant walking-on-eggshells feeling I get from social media, but I also recognize it’s the nature of the beast, and we have to be cognizant of that when we write anything that’s read by the public.
From what I can tell, this was a private matter (albeit an unfortunate situation that took place) and your husband should have thought more clearly before writing that tweet.
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AWOMEN TO THAT! Wow, there is nothing to say after that which is true love, got her man’s back. I LOVE IT! Big Cyber hugs to you both.
You got beef with my husband? Then you say it to me. My name is ~~~~~ and I am proud to be married to ~~~~~ Bring it.
Your husband truly married well.
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Unfortunately social media can serve as a playground for “cowards and gossips.” People need to work through their personal issues in a constructive way, as opposed to targeting someone online. You said it best when stating, “people abuse it by carrying out their own vendettas against individuals, companies or groups of people.” What’s terribly sad is these “people” I’m referring to are supposed to be “adults.” I feel anyone who sees through the cattiness and malicious acts will share in my opinion. Thank you. Your words not only defend your husband, but also others that have fallen victim to online attacks.
Ultimately, what you said is the takeaway from all this. “BE PRECISE”. If you only have 140 characters to express yourself, be as accurate as possible, and if it’s not possible, don’t post it to twitter. Post it to a blog where you can say as much as you want.
I spoke about this ages ago, in my post “Freedom of Consequences”. Everything you post to the internet is a standalone. Each instance has to represent itself… and you… and in this case, your company.
The only reason this even became a tabloid issue is that people are too busy running around scared to voice their own opinions and talking about people behind their backs on the back-channel.
Self-expression presents both an OPPORTUNITY and RESPONSIBILITY on the internet. Only post what you’re willing to stand by. What this means is that you’re better off posting specifically instead of generally. Make it clear what your problem IS and WHOM it’s with and you won’t have to worry about other people interpreting it however they choose in order to forward their own personal agendas.
Hell yes – I love it! “Bring it” – great response!
This is wrong and unfair. Everyone who knows you and James is pulling for you. Stay strong.
My head spins when I read this stuff. I had the pleasure of meeting James at BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas last year and found him friendly, open and courteous. So I reserve the right, in the absence of evidence I haven’t seen yet, to view James as a straightup guy – I hope he’ll be at BlogWorld Expo again this year and we get to continue the conversation.
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This was terribly blown out of proportion. The public should never have gotten wind of this. This is something that should have been handled on a conference call — if at all. Your husband didn’t say anything about FedEx. What was their prob? They act like they have turf or something. Immature.
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Your husband is a very lucky man to have such a great woman by his side. I wrote a blog about this situation as well, even though I am an unknown in the circles your husband frequents I felt I should share it with you after reading your response. I started the blurb around the time this story broke. and finished it last night.
Way to stand up for your man!
L Simon as a FedEX employee has it – the valuable lesson about how to use social media and some of the COMMON pitfalls has been learned well by Ketchum, FedEx and many of us out there. FedEx is much better prepared to navigate the new media sphere, with their agency Ketchum providing valuable albeit unconventional insight.
I’m not a big fan of how your husband writes (his emotions right now are showing, especially on Tweets), so I won’t follow him online, but thats OK. I will keep my fingers crossed he takes the value in the lesson also, not just everyone else who’s emotions aren’t on the line.
Maybe we should all try to use social media as if we were Barak Obama – he really has a handle on it!
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I agree that much of the bashing going on out there is way over-the-top, but I will say that what your husband did was unprofessional. It was a faux pas – we all make them, and they’re typically not a big deal.
The reason this is being treated as a “big deal” is because he was on his way to a workshop to teach “Social Media in Marketing”. Having attended that call, his action reflect on what he said there.
But hear me out.
Your husband’s oops has put Ketchum into the spotlight. Thousands of people who had never heard of them, now know what they do, and where James’ area of expertise in particular lies. The media coverage has increased awareness of FedEx’s contributions to the city of Memphis, the share culture of sacrifice where all employees take a pay cut instead of making layoffs, and the leadership of Fred Smith.
At first I was slightly miffed about this, as a FedEx employee – but the fact is, both of our companies have a net benefit from this.
From all the hoopla, I’ve learned two things: Be careful what you say on Twitter, and you cannot run from the transparency that “new media” brings. Even the dressing down and grousing amongst personalities can make it out onto the pages of newspapers now, and it would serve us all well to be a little more polite in our dealing with others.
As a Fed-X employee I can understand your loyally to your company, but I still respectfully disagree. Granted, this situation does warrant some discussion because for most it is treading on new ground. The rules (spoken or un-spoken) in the social media world are still being set and not yet understood by all the players.
Hmmm, it seems the question from a general corporate point of view (any corporation) is whether or not an employee is allowed to have personal opinion about anything? Or can they have an opinion, but not express that opinion in an open forum? Remember, James was twittering under his own name and expressing his own opinion about a damaging incident that happened to him personally, not as a Ketchum employee.
James was very careful to NOT say WHY he had a problem with Memphis in the first place that prompted him to send the tweet. The tweet, in your opinion was a faux pas, but the letter written by the Fed-X employee “leaked” to the internet was not? I think that letter was damaging to all parties involved. Certainly that was a breech in the corporate chain of command? The whole situation could have easily been handled in person.
Opinions. We all have them. Thankfully, I don’t have to censor mine, but I also refuse to stoop to the level of some of the comments that I have received (and not posted). Don’t even get me started on some of the comments and emails that James has received…some of these people need to have a warrant out for their arrest, seriously.
My intent in writing my blog post was not to come to James’ defense, as some have stated (he is quite capable to taking care of himself), but to put a human face to all the mean-spirited things that are being said. I find it very disheartening that people can be so cruel and basically harass both James and I over an incident that I think is really small, in the bigger scheme of things. Remember, this was all going on when the plane was crash-landing in the river.
Is that even your real name? I would use a fake name too if I were you because after a comment like that, people might come looking for you. How dare you insinuate that a person doesn’t know when they are being discriminated against!
That’s it—that’s the end of the negative comments to be posted and answered, because it will just get ugly. And I am much too pretty for that. 😉
Gotta love blanket statements. Did the person that mistreated your husband in Memphis say that they were doing so because of his race? If not, then you are the one doing the assuming.
If your husband is honest enough to complain about whatever the act was, then he should be honest enough to tell everything that happened.
Weak argument for an unprofessional act by your husband.
LOVE your response.
“Anybody who uses Twitter and knows what they are doing, knows that it is a dialogue that takes place.”
So many just don’t get it. It’s about creating conversations, building relationships. That’s why we need people like your husband to teach.
(And as a wife/womyn married to her best friend, I love that you’re so vocal for your husband!)
Rose, you’re wrong. The issue is simple. My friends who have been on the receiving end of racial incidents don’t go into details – it’s too painful. I don’t know anyone who’s African American who makes this stuff up…it’s real, it’s ugly and it happens far too often. That’s the explanation, and it’s not an excuse at all.
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I have a problem with him. Mainly for not defending his right to say whatever he cares on twitter. His statement was fair, he would NOT like to live there.
Saying that he’d die is hyperbole, but anyone with a grasp of English should be able to recognise this.
To the FedEx people, if you were proud of Memphis like you claim then you’d not have let it deteriorate to such a degree that you snap believing people don’t like your city.
Whether or not he was talking about the city in general or an incident is irrelevant. You don’t have to like everywhere.
The very fact that they tried to embarrass him by emailing him and cc’ing all the ‘brass’ at FedEx speaks volumes to the fact that they’re not comfortable with social media.
So yeah, I have a problem with him. You tell him (for me) to stand up for himself and make an example out of people that have thin skins and a lack of refinement.
/* End of rant */
You said it! Typical hyped up, blow out of proportion in order to have an ‘interesting’ story — at someone else’s expense.
Rose, Marsha was right. The tweet was in response to a racial incident in Collierville, TN. How many times do I have to say that? I don’t care what anyone believes, infers or wishes– that’s what happened. Period.
It was not a mistaken tweet, it was an opinion. I guess that we are not allowed to have them these days. At least, not while in Memphis.
Marsha, people don’t get that the tweet was a response to a racially intolerant individual because absolutely nothing in his post mentioned it.
Mr. Andrews states: “Two days ago I made a comment on Twitter that was the emotional response to a run in I had with an intolerant individual. The Tweet was aimed at the offense not the city of Memphis.”
But, his tweet was: “True confession but I’m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say “I would die if I had to live here!”
See any disconnect? I don’t care much about the insult to the town, but it’s immature to try to make it something it wasn’t to cover up one’s faux pas. An educated individual with 140 characters at his disposal could come up with something more accurate than that.
I do hope that there aren’t any repercussions for him, because it was just a careless mistake, and not worthy of so much vitriol. At the same time…it appears that both of you are trying to invoke vitriol in response. I’m not quite sure what to think about that. I know I don’t want to hire either of you. When you mess up, you just make excuses.
You closed the issue like the classy woman you obviously are. Shake the negativity and move on. The canons will be pointed in someone other unfortunate person’s direction tomorrow.
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You make me smile and I think your “crumb snatchers” are very lucky to have you both.
BTW there are free thinkers on Shankman too; what I posted a couple of days ago:
“Oh GROW A PAIR already! The Ketchum dude gave his Tweets a simple shout-out about Memphis sucking; the FedEx punk is the one who went over the line and made it personal/public (and unprofessional) … there’s a time for self-censorship (duh!~) and the rest is about keeping it real. Peace.”
My take is the tweet was a reaction to racial intolerance. I made a comment to that effect here…http://tinyurl.com/a974uc
If so, I don’t think people get it.
Marsha Keeffers last blog post..More Courage: SF Bike Messengers
TVS, in response to your comment:
Is there a particular reason why you put “man” in quotes?
Personally, I could say that “I would die” if I had to live a number of places. Like Minnesota; I grew up there and it is a lovely place, but “I would die if I had to live there”….because I hate cold weather. Germany was a fantastic place to visit, but “I would die if I had to live there”…..because I don’t speak German.
And he wasn’t even in Memphis; he was in Collierville, TN. We live in the south now and while it is a lovely place for the most part, there are those times…..I wrote a post about it here.
I’m so glad you spoke out in true FunkiDivaGirl fashion! The whole situation is just ridiculous.
Fed Ex owes James a very public apology. While many are warning us to watch what we post, we should instead be watching what we assume. People love to be right about their assumptions, huh.
I was so moved by this, I had to post a piece as well: http://blog.simplydoyou.com/
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One question, isn’t your husband’s job to help clients shape their on-line message? Doesn’t this go against the very advice he gives his clients?
Thanks for sharing how you feel. As a wife, I completely understand the need to stand up for your husband and I commend you for it. Continue to stay in his corner as you have during the last 15+ years.
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I respect your defence of your “man”, but he was wrong to dis Memphis!!!
I love your ability to stand up and back your man! And to express it all eloquently and with passion and zeal! hold it down lady! Y’all keep doing what you do!
Too bad hating goes hand-in-hand with social media. Haters are like free speech’s socially inept twin.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire situation was emotionally hurtful to your family. Especially since your husband just made a mistake. But anyone who says an unkind word about his mistake is just making a mistake, too. Are their actions wore than your husband’s?
Haters want you to trip. Please don’t give it to ’em. They’re not worthy of your time or attention. You and your man are better than that!
Now that’s what I’m talkin’ bout! A sister standing up for and beside her man. I think the only reason anyone is making a big deal is because of where he is and they’re just hating. Leave it to the C-list to try to gain celebrity through the A-list people. You all keep do your thing. Be blessed. 😀
And he is lucky to have you, such a smart, strong, loyal woman at his back.
You have made my day Funkidiva! I love the fact that you are taking up for your man! I have been out of the corporate world since 2002 and I see it hasn’t changed a bit. Awesome Twitter response James.
amen, amen and amen!
You know I agree with you 100%! I am so thankful that I TOOK TIME to get to know you and your husband by reading your blogs.
Further, I have had the pleasure of working with your husband on some things offline and online.
Some people make assumptions of others without making the investment of time in wanting to truly know who they maybe. Those are the individuals who are missing out on benefiting from social media. It takes time to get to know others and if brands and individuals just jump to conclusions then they are the sore losers.
Big hugs xoxo
Guuuurrrrl, you betta tell’em.
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You go girl. Smart eyes are listening. 🙂
I totally agree with you! Obviously the Fed Ex employee had an ulterior motive. He was pissed that the company was spending millions of dollars outsourcing his department, when in his opinion, Fed-Ex could have kept that money in house and not cut his pay. You are right. People do not know the entire situation. Furthermore, he never spoke ill of Fed-Ex. He made a comment about a city because of his encounter with a “racist” individual. I love that you are fighting for your Man and standing up for him. You are an awesome wife!
Say Word! Mrs. Andrews!! I love this post and I love the love that you have for your man!
You better preach GIRL!
and let the congregation say, “AMEN”!