Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour

Social media experts warn that one tweet is all it takes to ignite a firestorm of online rumours. And it was just one tweet that brought the web’s attention to the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this week – and it had nothing to do with glitz or glam.

 

In case you haven’t heard – a Toronto writer tweeted that she had been bitten by bedbugs after watching a movie at the Scotiabank theatre in Toronto. A few days later her friend and movie journalist, James Rocchi, tweeted, “Bad, bad news from Toronto re: #TIFF10. Torontoian friend got, yes, bedbugs at the Scotiabank – aka where all press screenings are.”

An hour or so later the fest’s co-director, Cameron Bailey, responded. “Before bedbugs becomes today’s meme: we’re on it, we’re talking to Cineplex and are planning for an itch-free #TIFF10.” Cineplex also chimed in on Twitter, assuring their 3,000 followers that they were looking into the issue. Less than 24 hours after the Rocchi’s tweet, Cineplex confirmed that the theatre was pest-free.

If there’s anything that can outlive a bedbug it’s an online rumour. Countless blogs and newsites including all three of Toronto’s major dailies, Hollywood Reporter and Perez Hilton grabbed headlines about the possible infestation and a quick scan of the #TIFF10 hashtag reveals folks are still a-Twitter over the rumours.

Given how quickly TIFF responded to Rocchi’s original tweet, one can only assume that someone was listening closely to online chatter. For communicators, this should serve as a cautionary tale that you must be listening online for mentions about your brand.

Should you ever find yourself in the festival’s shoes, use this six-point checklist for responding to an online rumour.

Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour

  • Take action immediately.
  • Use the same media your audience uses.
  • Respond appropriately (it can be one-on-one, or a mass communication approach).
  • Be open and transparent when you respond.
  • Stay on the high road. Don’t engage in a negative way.
  • Be flexible. Sometimes tactics don’t work out the way you want them to. But don’t give up… your reputation is at stake.
  • 16 comments on Blog Post Title

  • nikki_eaton99 12:8 PDT on Sep 9, 2010

    RT @CPRSOttawaGat: RT @vincentwhite: Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour http://t.co/WQ5YQ9V #PR

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • CPRSCalgary 12:0 PDT on Sep 9, 2010

    RT @vincentwhite: Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour http://t.co/WQ5YQ9V #PR (cc @CPRSNational @CPRSOttawaGat)

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • CPRSOttawaGat 11:58 PDT on Sep 9, 2010

    RT @vincentwhite: Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour http://t.co/WQ5YQ9V #PR

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • vincentwhite 11:58 PDT on Sep 9, 2010

    Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour http://t.co/WQ5YQ9V #PR (cc @CPRSNational @CPRSOttawaGat)

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • UmaChandran 13:40 PDT on Sep 2, 2010

    Valuable tips for dealing with online rumours RT @CNWGroup: Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour: http://ow.ly/2yE33

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • jonmyers 12:48 PDT on Sep 2, 2010

    RT @carolmerry: RT @BlenderMedia: Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour http://ht.ly/2yErV [see, it pays to listen!]

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • carolmerry 12:44 PDT on Sep 2, 2010

    RT @BlenderMedia: Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour http://ht.ly/2yErV [see, it pays to listen!]

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • 4westcoast 12:18 PDT on Sep 2, 2010

    RT @CNWGroup: Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour: http://ow.ly/2yE33

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • q4websystems 12:0 PDT on Sep 2, 2010

    RT @BlenderMedia: Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour http://ht.ly/2yErV [see, it pays to listen!]

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • darrellheaps 11:55 PDT on Sep 2, 2010

    RT @BlenderMedia: Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour http://ht.ly/2yErV [see, it pays to listen!]

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • MarieMould 11:18 PDT on Sep 2, 2010

    good post RT @CNWGroup: Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour: http://ow.ly/2yE33

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • JennOuellette 11:0 PDT on Sep 2, 2010

    Great tips. RT @amandalaird: Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour: http://ow.ly/2yE33

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • BlenderMedia 10:46 PDT on Sep 2, 2010

    Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour http://ht.ly/2yErV [see, it pays to listen!]

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • philipmulder 10:42 PDT on Sep 2, 2010

    Good advice RT@CNWGroup Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour: http://ow.ly/2yE33 #cprs #cprsedmonton

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • amandalaird 10:39 PDT on Sep 2, 2010

    Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour: http://ow.ly/2yE33

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  • CNWGroup 10:36 PDT on Sep 2, 2010

    Six Tips for Responding to an Online Rumour: http://ow.ly/2yE33

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

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