I’m a bit concerned and wonder why some business owners feel they must voice their religious, political or legal gripes online and then, when there is blowback on said gripe, be mad about the consequences?  I’ve been noticing this “trend” lately across the board but specifically in the ever changing world of beer.  I get your brewery, beer store, beer blog, beer vlog or whatever business you have, may not be very big…yet, but that doesn’t mean a thousand eyes aren’t watching your every move.  With the advent of social media, many a person…not just businesspeople have been outed, embarrassed and ruined because they think, 1) what they post won’t be that big of a deal, 2) it won’t reach that many people, 3) if it does reach a lot of people, the majority will, of course, feel the same way, so they’ll be fine.

I get it…you most certainly have a right to free speech.  Say whatever you want, whenever you want, to whomever you want. Look…I’m doing that right now!  But people seem to ALWAYS forget, you are not immune to the CONSEQUENCES of said speech.

If I’m in IT (which I was) and publicly say Bill Gates is an idiot and he gets wind of it and chooses to put the word out with every IT firm here to Satchtawan that I am a bonehead and to not hire me…whose fault is that?  Yea…MINE.  I take full responsibility.  Remember the old adages about shooting yourself in the foot or burning bridges?  Guess what?  It may not be 1810 but they still hold true.

There was a business owner here in Michigan who had…I say had because I have no idea how this person is fairing now…an amazing product…amazing…did I say amazing?  Yes, amazing.  My husband and I would go out of our way to get it.  Then one bright and sunny day this person felt the need to make an offhanded online statement that didn’t come off as clear and as concise as this person would have hoped.  IMMEDIATELY there was online backlash.  I probably would have never seen a word about it but the scurfluffel happened to get picked up by a local writer/local newspaper and he did an online article about it that got attention.  I follow this paper on Facebook so it popped up on my newsfeed.  I looked into it more, followed the links, reviews and read the comments.  This owner was being totally shellacked in social media…all forms.  And why?  NOT because the product produced was inferior or the service was awful but because of this person’s personal opinion about a highly volatile and divisive situation going on in the country right now.  A lot of businesses stopped using this person’s products and I haven’t seen the business since.

And think about it.  For what?

You really want to lose your business or credibility because you just HAVE to make a public stance on whether Pepsi is better than Coke?  If you must say on your business Twitter account “New Kids On The Block is the worst boy band in history” get ready for us millions of fans to boycott you!  That statement is wrong and completely untrue! (Did I say that out loud?)

Point is, a great social media presence comes with great responsibility.  Do yourself a favor and just tell your Mom.