Abstract: The birth of interactive social platforms and the conditions for online, live dialogue with brands and institutions worldwide has made possible the appearance of a new social paradigm. Social media make possible the appearance of communication techniques which shorten the distance between institutions, public figures, brands and companies, and people. They are changing not only communication norms but the ways in which people interact. The present research is based on three case studies of mistakes which need to be avoided when communicating via social media. The reason for analysing these is connected, on the one hand, to the presence of some most common mistakes made in the social media sphere and, on the other hand, to the enormous effect which such media have had on changing people’s perceptions and attitudes and on building corporate and institutional images. They also show how damaging an underestimation of the power of social media can be. Nowadays public shaming of individuals, brands and institutions is much easier because of unrestricted access to the social media — the tribune for the public voice. The power of these new communication channels is undeniable but also uncontrollable and thus should be treated with caution. The three examples above clearly show the power of the social media and the effects of underestimating their possible impact upon the reputations of both brands and individuals.
Keywords: social media, public shaming, online communication techniques, online PR instruments, trust-building online.
Rhetoric and Communications Е-Journal, Issue 12, April 2014, http://rhetoric.bg/, ISSN 1314-4464