April 2017’s Online Celebrity (Move over Salt Bae!)
Don’t tell me you don’t know who this man is. As of mid-April 2017, every news outlet and possible platform served up this incredibly absurd PR tragedy for United Airlines. Content is king. So, if a story is compelling enough as this, no matter what platform you digest it off, it won’t truly matter. You definitely were able to read up on the mentioned incident on Instagram via various memes that lead you to the story, videos uploaded from witnesses onto their SNS such as Facebook and so on. Certainly with the rise of social media and proliferation of mobile media platforms, the event blew up on the Internet and the organization faced dire consequences. What’s the cost of dragging one of your paying customers off a flight in the digital age? A cool 1 billion dollars. Tuesday shares were down about 4%, which at the time had erased $994.2 million in market capitalization. Prior to having smartphones and tablets super-glued to our hands as a virtual extension of the self, United Airlines stocks would of maybe not even been affected considering the only people involved would be those on the flight and who ever they would of told. However, in 2017 where everything is a share or retweet away, it would be hard for Wall Street to not reflect the PR nightmare and the turbulence their actions caused on the web. Gary Kaltbaum, president of Kaltbaum Capital Management notes, “before social media like Twitter and Facebook, before the advent of fast communication, maybe they can get away with something like this, but it is a whole new ballgame. You spend a lifetime and a ton of advertising money trying to gain a great reputation with a moniker like “Fly the friendly skies,” but it takes one incident to completely undo it. It’s tough to recover quickly with everyone seeing it, and makes people think twice about who they will fly with. United’s stock [today] reflects the negative potential.” Even though the stock has recovered, the company’s image has been tarnished. If no one heard of United before, they unquestionably do now. And that’s not a good thing.
See video HERE