By Keisha M. McClellan • April 22, 2018•Writers in Residence, Careers, Firms and the Private Sector, Law School, Choosing a Career and Landing a Job, Internships and Clerkships
Everywhere we turn, there’s a new cautionary tale about the power and perils of social media. Tales of employers declining offers to potential new hires who have damaged their brand and “employment value” over their questionable activity on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter are all over the internet.
Take Kylie Jenner's tweet about Snapchat’s re-design, “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me…ugh this is so sad.”
Reports that Snapchat allegedly lost more than a billion dollars after that Kylie tweet was intriguing. Headlines blaring “In One Tweet, Kylie Jenner Wiped Out $1.3 Billion of Snap’s Market Value,” were pretty enthralling. Inc.com reported that Kylie’s 18-word post “add[ed] up to more than $72 million lost, for each word she wrote.” With more than 24 million followers on Twitter, Kylie’s tweets snag a lot of eyeballs. So what she posts can be consequential.
Of course, it is certainly debatable whether her tweet single-handedly resulted in Snap’s stock devaluation. Fast Company, for instance, debunked this idea in its analysis that “No, Kylie Jenner Didn’t Kill Snapchat.” But in this age of social media mania, the notion that a single tweet could wreak havoc on the market is intriguing to consider. In fact, when I read Kylie’s tweet I instantly thought of Oprah Winfrey’s infamous Amarillo, Texas Beef Trial twenty years ago. There, Texas cattlemen argued that comments made on an Oprah Show involving beef and mad cow disease resulted in a plummeting of beef prices. Of course, this was pre-Twitter but the talk show scenario echoes similar themes raised in the uproar around Kylie’s Snapchat tweet.
The Kylie incident certainly raises a host of legal concerns for attorneys and their highly-visible clients, brands, and advertising agencies operating in the new media realm. A post here, a tweet there, can result in unintended consequences that are far-reaching.
The same holds true for the general populace. Just because you can reach your followers with a musing quickly drafted on your phone, doesn’t mean that you always should.
At the end of the day, be careful what you convey on social media. While you may not have the influence to derail a company’s stock price, you do have significant clout to dismantle your corporate or personal brand in the blink of a pithy post!