Last week, we participated in a panel discussion at the World Bank, titled “Voice of Corruption Hunters in Social Media.” The panel was part of the World Bank’s International Corruption Hunters Alliance (ICHA) Conference and served as an opportunity for several of us in the communication and academic worlds to discuss the importance of social media for sharing anti-corruption ideas and strategies.
We thought we would share some of these ideas with FCPA Blog readers interested in expanding their anti-corruption/social media presence.
Our favorite tips are:
- Start Small. Your first foray into the world of social media does not need to include the creation of your own blog. Join Twitter, Facebook, Linked in or other forms of social media. There are many active anti-corruption-oriented Twitter accounts and Linkedin has many anti-corruption specialty groups. Start there, and if you want to contribute more significantly, consider writing and submitting a post to an anti-corruption blog.
- Be timely; be relevant. Choose an idea worth owning, or maybe one aspect of an issue to be concise. Some of the best posts are about an idea, and not just about an event or news. Convey your thoughts succinctly (we can’t stress this one enough), telling readers why they should care up front. Keep in mind this is not a law review article. Have a conversation with the readers and let them know up front why they should care about this issue.
- Beware of the “me too” post. When many people have talked about a particular event, law, product or development, it’s time to move on or think of a new angle to offer. Bring something to the table that is original and will educate readers about a new topic or a new way of considering a much-analyzed one.
- Develop a thick skin. So, you have submitted a blog post and it has been published. While it is possible that your piece will be well-received, the most interesting and thought-provoking posts rarely trigger universal praise. In fact, there is a strong likelihood that your post will trigger some negative reactions. (Trust us, some of our posts have triggered hate mail). While none of us enjoy negative feedback, there is a silver lining: the post has triggered an emotional response from readers. This means people actually care about your work. Congratulations!
- “Come at the king, you best not miss.” –Omar Little. If you decide to write a post that is critical of something (a government policy, an elected official or civil servant, or even a fellow blogger’s work), check your facts! Then check them again. There is nothing worse than taking a big swing at someone or something only to wind up with egg on your face or facing a defamation claim. Jessica’s favorite character from The Wire is right about this one.
- Increase your visibility. Link your actions, speeches, published work, and other work to your social media accounts (Twitter, Linked in, Facebook). Were you quoted in a published piece or in someone else’s tweet? Link all of your relevant work back to your social media accounts to reach more people and build on your ongoing work. This will enable you to “share/follow/”like” your way to collective action.
- Think before you tweet. This is an important one. Your social media contributions will be read by more people than you anticipate. (Julie’s favorite quote here comes from the movie The Social Network in which Eduardo Saverin (co-founder of Facebook) asks Mark Zuckerberg, “Who are you sending that email to?” to which Zuckerberg responds, “The real question is ‘who will that person send the email to?’”) Read something that makes you angry? Good — but don’t fire-off an angry tweet or other social media contribution without having at least two friends or colleagues review it. Remember her or her? You will thank us for this one.
Jessica Tillipman is a senior editor of the FCPA Blog and Assistant Dean at The George Washington Univeristy Law School. She can be followed on Twitter @JTillipman.
Julie DiMauro is a contributing editor of the FCPA Blog. She works in the Governance, Risk and Compliance group at Thomson Reuters as a regulatory intelligence specialist. She can be followed on Twitter @Julie_DiMauro.