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Share This Too: More Social Media Solutions for PR Professionals by Stephen Waddington, Rob Brown, Chartered Institute of Public Relations

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Chapter 7

The Unsocial Web

Dr Mark Pack

Social media can appear a very unfriendly and rude place at times. However, with a mix of common sense, preparation and careful management you can steer around the unsociable corners and bask in the benefits of the social ones.

Only a few years ago the simple news that someone was joining Twitter was often newsworthy. Now it is commonplace and only newsworthy when it involves the most prominent of people.50 But Twitter still hits the mainstream news far more regularly than that – particularly with stories of people being questioned by the police for what they have tweeted.

Beneath all the debate over how far the law should circumscribe what people can say on Twitter, there is widespread agreement that social media contains all sorts of unsociable, rude, drunk or threatening comments at times. No surprise either – for social media is made up of humans and humanity has always had its unsociable edge.

Just as the rest of our lives does not have to be over-run with such behaviour, nor does our slice of social media. It is a matter of choice. Not a matter of easy, neat, perfect choice but choice nonetheless. We have control over where we go, what we do and how we interact with others. Just as avoiding walking past a downmarket pub at chucking out time is a sensible way to avoid problems on a Friday night, so too we decide where we go and what we do online.

Offline this can seem a chore, unreasonably cramping our freedom. Online, it is easier ...

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