Crisis Communications – I’m sorry Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

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ddddOn my drive into work last Friday I was listening to KTAR and they mentioned that swimmer Ryan Lochte had issued an apology via Instagram and Twitter, for “confusing” the details of being robbed in Rio during the Olympics.

I’m not really concerned about the fact that he “confused” the details of what happened but I am more interested in the fact that he took to Instagram to issue his apology (an apology, which by the way was not sincere, which is an entirely different blog post).  He later completed an interview with Matt Lauer in which he sounded even more insincere, adding more fuel to the fire.

But, I had to immediately ask myself, “when did a social media post become the way to issue an apology?”

In most cases, I don’t think it is the proper way to issue an apology. And in this case it doesn’t seem to be the correct way for Lochte, either. According to an article posted by The New York Times yesterday, there are now four companies, Speedo USA, Ralph Lauren, Airweave and Syneron Candela, who have parted ways with Lochte. What I found even more interesting was the fact that two of the four companies took to Twitter to announce the decision.

But now I have to ask, is social media the “new” way to issue an apology? If so, when did it become acceptable to apologize in this way?  If not, will it ever be acceptable?

Rachel Brockway
Rachel Brockway
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

1 Comment

  1. Social media is not the “new”way to share information. Companies, organizations and individuals have been using it for quite some time — and often for apologies. To me, it’s not whether it is the right place but who are you trying to reach and are you being truthful and sincere in your apology. In this case, using Instagram was more about reaching his fans than perhaps the companies that he endorses (which may be a better target). Was he sincere? Not so much – meaning no matter where he chose to make his statement, he wasn’t going to be that believable.

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