Whatever your political leanings #NoBillNoBreak is a watershed moment in the evolution of digital public affairs and the use of social media to bypass traditional channels of communication. It is also a defining moment in what is already an historic and transformational political year.
In a Presidential election cycle in which Donald Trump has demonstrated the effectiveness – and lately the limits – of direct communication via Twitter, the House Republicans’ decision to keep CSPAN cameras from broadcasting the House Democrats’ gun control protest, and the Democrats’ decision to live stream via Periscope and Facebook Live represents the turning of a page. It’s too soon to know how this will impact efforts to pass gun control legislation, but already there are key lessons that every brand should take to heart:
- Reputation must be managed live and in the moment. We used to talk about social media as accelerating the pace of communications. Now that model is outdated. Attempts to manage brand reputation must reflect the reality that we all stand naked to the world, exposed and susceptible to broadcast at a moment’s notice.
- Information will always find a way out and increasingly, transparency is not something that is rewarded, it’s something that is expected. In this environment, the best course of action is to pull the curtain back and be transparent about the issue – all the while working to shape the messaging and discussion.
- This is the moment when the livestream grew up and the ‘new Twitter’ became real. Since Jack Dorsey retook the reins at Twitter we’ve heard that live events were the future of the platform. Now we know that it’s real and powerful. For brands, having a social media strategy isn’t enough. What’s your live strategy?
Perhaps most importantly to public affairs professionals is that this political season, and this moment, marks the promotion of digital public affairs to the varsity squad. It’s more than just targeted advertising, digital grassroots screaming in an echo chamber, or hash-tag advocacy that never seems to lead anywhere. Innovation and change happens in times of turbulence. The future of our profession is being written in real-time and in code.