From the business desk: the unpleasant worst of social media

IF SOCIAL media was not such a vital tool for businesses (and us journalists, too), I would have it banned.

Monday, 20th July 2015, 2:34 pm
W26306H13OliPoole Business Picture. Worthing Herald Business Reporter, Oli Poole. ENGSUS00120130620162236

The tragic circumstances surrounding Worthing man Don Lock’s death saw some keyboard warriors take to Facebook to express their anger, effectively condemning an accused man as guilty before he had even stepped foot in a courtroom.

It was shocking to see and put a dampener on the more human nature of other contributors, who flooded pages with heartfelt tributes to someone who was evidently a hugely loved and respected family man.

Social media is a great place for businesses to network, connect with customers and have a good old debate.

But it is no place for discussing ongoing criminal cases and I hope the historic ‘innocent until proven guilty’ assumption is adhered to going forward, and for all criminal cases.

If people cannot adhere to simple law and a ‘mob mentality’ persists in such cases, then I would rather not have social media at all.

But, as stated, social media is not all bad.

The Herald and Gazette patch is blessed with a wealth of social media-savvy entrepreneurs, with many small firms using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others to grow their brands.

Some have even started on Facebook, using the medium as a free website, before branching out.

But sometimes, having a social presence helps in other ways.

A Bolton bakery hit the headlines last month when a woman complained that edible ‘female’ teddy bears had unnecessary rude parts.

The bakers refused to give a refund, arguing they always drew seams on their bears, whether male or female.

This was, of course, a ridiculous complaint and I feared for the small operation when the nationals picked up on the story.

Thanks to social media, though, scores of cake lovers jumped to their defence, leaving five star reviews and messages from as far as Australia.

Let’s hope the near 4,000 Facebook likes the bakery’s page now boasts is providing a steady stream of boosted business for them.