Last week saw two prime examples of how not to use social media. While the first comes from an Ohio born millennial with millions of online followers, and the second from a Shropshire chef, both cases went viral.
Logan Paul, 22, shot to fame through the app, Vine. His Vine’s earned him hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising, and gained him millions of online followers on various platforms. While some of Paul’s videos had caused some minor controversy, nothing compared to that of the vlog he uploaded onto YouTube last week.
While filming in Japan, Paul visited the Aokigahara Forest – a famous suicide spot. While filming, he and his crew come across the body of a man who had hung himself from a tree. Rather than stop filming, the cameras kept rolling and Paul is seen laughing, and getting close enough to the body to remark that it was purple and he must have died recently. While many would argue filming the body was bad enough, Paul uploaded the vlog onto his YouTube channel for his 15.6 million subscribers to see and immediately sparked a worldwide backlash.
His followers, the press and fellow celebrities condemned the video which gained 1 million views before Paul took it down. Another video has now emerged from the Japan trip, with Paul throwing “Poke Balls” at cars, cyclists and police officers and him pulling down his trousers. This video has been the catalyst for another backlash.
Despite issuing an apology for the Aokigahara Forest video, Paul has now hired a security firm for fears for his safety after receiving death threats, and tens of thousands have unsubscribed from his channels.
Shropshire Italian restaurant, Carlini, had an excellent review rate online with customers raving about the food. However, this all came tumbling down after co-owner, Laura Goodman, 47, made several comments in a Facebook group.
Goodman posted “Pious, judgmental vegan (who I spent all day cooking for) has gone to bed, still believing she’s a vegan” in one group, and “Spiked a vegan earlier” in another. Goodman quickly received negative comments from others in the group, and soon screenshots of the posts spread across social media.
The restaurant’s Google and TripAdvisor pages were flooded with negative and one star reviews, and its Facebook page was taken down completely due to the amount of complaints. The story was quickly picked up the press, and by the next morning the story had gone viral. It has emerged Goodman’s comments were not as malicious as they first appeared, after she clarified and said she did not spike the meal and that she was “really deeply sorry. There were no meat products added to the dishes”. However, it was too late – the damage was done.
Her fiancé, and the other co-owner of the restaurant, said the couple had received threats of lawsuits, death threats and that their “world has been turned upside down”. The couple had spent £200,000 on Carlini, and another branch of the restaurant they own nearby. Within four days of the original comments being posted, Carlini announced that Goodman had tendered her resignation.
It does not matter how many followers or subscribers you have, whether you post in a public or private group, or if you’re social media famous or a chef from Shropshire – in the age of the internet you cannot simply post things and not expect a potential backlash. The internet as an entity is quick off the mark to save and screenshot, and it doesn’t take much for something to go viral. While Paul’s career will take a hit, it is unlikely this will be the end for him – he still has millions of followers and millions of dollars. The same cannot be said for Goodman however, as the future for Carlini and her career as a chef are uncertain.
What is certain though, is that in 2018 there is such a thing as bad press.
Claire Buchan, Digital Marketing
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