Welcome to the era of hair trigger commentary..

At first glance it might appear that Shirley Sherrod, Old Spice, and Uniball have little in common.

However, they do.

Each have fallen foul to knee jerk commentary from people who haven’t taken the time to analyze, contemplate or find out the facts before casting “informed” judgment.

It’s something we’ll all have to get used to, and it creates an ‘interesting’ environment for public relations practitioners who must deal with the aftermath of this whiplash analysis.

For the record:

  • Shirley Sherrod was forced to resign after a blogger posted an edited YouTube video that took a talk she gave on racial reconciliation completely out of context.
  • The recent Old Spice social media campaign – maybe because it was high profile -  attracted all kinds of “commentary” from people who said it was a failure in terms of sales after only a week online.  A ridiculously short period of time – oh and sales are up!
  • Uniball is a little more obscure, but the company was lambasted for pointing people to their Facebook site rather than the corporate web site as part of a high profile promotion.

In all three cases, commentators didn’t let analysis or even the facts get in the way of a good rant. Instead they took partial information and just jumped right in to give their “valued” opinion.

You see this increasingly on Twitter, with people erupting about some issue or other, only to tweet later that they were mistaken or it wasn’t true – and of course that’s the 2% that actually bother to correct it.

I posted about Old Spice last week, because I thought it was smart both in terms of its traditional, and more especially its social media execution.  It was a subjective post.

Although it shouldn’t, it does amaze me, in the case of Old Spice and Uniball, that people can call a campaign a failure without any knowledge of the objectives or the results.

Clearly this is the outcome of our always-on media environment and I’m far too old and grumpy to expect it to change.

Instead we can all expect to see a lot more of it and from a Public Relations standpoint expect to be fighting a lot more fires as a result.