Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ay-yi-yi - When the Association didn't want to be on YouTube

An association learned about social media the hard way: Against their will. An attendee taped an event and posted it on YouTube. No one knew they were being taped and there was no ill-will intended, but it caused embarrassment. The person who posted the video took it down upon request - but what if she didn't? How many people might have viewed/saved it before it was removed?

The experience was so negative the association was concerned about using any video for any purpose. And it caused discussion about other social events and what they might reasonably expect in the future - along with what was entirely unreasonable to believe they can control.

For example, consider association events sometimes used for fundraising or entertainment: hypnotists, talent shows, "beauty pageants", karaoke, etc. -- where professional business people agree to participate. If anyone in the room with a camera-enabled cell phone, digital camera or video camera can easily videotape/photograph participants, those moments can land on YouTube. Do attendees consider that others could later watch what they did at that event?

False thoughts:

1. Thought: YouTube is so big, the video won't be found. False. Because of the way tags are used, and ease of searching, if the association has its own videos on YouTube, then the "unauthorized" videos may also show up for viewers too (as "similar").

2. Thought: Announcing that no one is allowed to tape any portion of the event means that no portion of the event will be taped. False. Absent scanning attendees for electronic devices AND taking them away, not exactly clear how any association can stop it from happening.

3. Thought: That attendees know (or care) they should not "report" certain information on YouTube, blogs, Twitter or any other mass-posting method. False. Those engaged in social media sometimes forget (or don't care) that everyone else in the world may not want something reported just because something happens. There may be increased use of confidentiality agreements at meetings - just to remind attendees about expectations of confidentiality. But, a quick chat with the association attorney may make it clear if those are wishful documents or ones that have a real repercussion.

Should associations make decisions about our events, functions and meetings in the future realizing anything that happens could be minutes away from YouTube?

No comments: