If Thomas Edison had a Twitter account, it would be stuffed with defamatory remarks about Nikola Tesla, and slams about the quality of Tesla’s work. The feud between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla is legendary, as the two battled over which was better: direct current or alternating current. In the time of these two electrical engineering geniuses, “The Current War” was in full swing. Thomas Edison was decidedly the most brutal participant in this war, as he used false information, unethical experiments, and negative content to aggressively harm Tesla’s professional reputation. Let’s take a look at the top three tactical no-nos that should never be a part of your content.
Waging War on the Competition
We all know that, essentially, every business wants to out-do the competition. There’s no harm in this; it is what motivates businesses to constantly improve upon their products or services. What does cause harm is a direct verbal assault on the competition. Thomas Edison had a lot to learn about public relations and content etiquette. His vicious campaign against Nikola Tesla’s work and credibility is well-known and, as a result, only serves to mar Edison’s reputation. Using a public platform to besmirch the competition’s reputation is a major content no-no.
Lying about “Facts”
Thomas Edison conjured misleading “scientific studies” that served to downplay the benefits of Tesla’s alternating current. What’s more, Edison touted information that “proved” alternating current was not only undesirable, but downright dangerous. Of course, this was all a lie as we now use alternating currents to power the majority of homes and businesses. If communication in the 19th century was as advanced as it is today, Edison may not have succeeded in temporarily winning the Current War. Lying about the competition and disseminating false information is another content no-no. In our media-rich society, lying about anything is bound to come back to haunt you. Just ask a politician!
Stay Out of the Line of Fire
Thomas Edison fueled the fire of competition between himself and Nikola Tesla with negative remarks and shots aimed directly at Tesla’s character. We have no control over what others say about us or our business. In social media, the best way to handle a negative comment is to address the concern head-on without getting emotional or becoming equally cruel. Simply deleting a negative comment sends a clear message to followers: you are not willing to address negative feedback. Keep an open mind and a receptive ear; while it may not take away the comment, it will ensure that your followers know you care about what customers have to say.
Taking the high road is not always easy. But, in the realm of social media, where content is immediate and permanent, it is always better to maintain a consistent and positive approach to communication. It’s perfectly fine to take a side or make a point, but doing so tastefully and without malice is the best way to make sure content is digested and not simply written off as Edison-like spam.
What else can we learn from Edison’s content mistakes? What are some content-related issues your business has experienced?
Latest posts by Victoria (see all)
- Lost in Translation: Spanish Content Writing and the High Price of Low Cost - July 9, 2014
- Vimeo vs. YouTube: Will a Winner Emerge in 2014? [Infographic] - April 30, 2014
- 6 Not So Deadly Content Marketing Mistakes and How to Fix Them - April 29, 2014