Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When does an Unanswered Lie become the Truth?

Years ago, I attended a campaign and election course to develop an understanding of referenda for the association where I worked.

One lesson I have not forgotten:
• An unanswered lie becomes truth in 24 hours.

Since the course was pre-internet and pre-social media, it probably now has been re-stated as “an unanswered lie becomes truth in 24 minutes.”

I was reminded of this when I read Thomas Lake’s comprehensive story “Did this Man Really Cut Michael Jordan?

You’ve probably heard the story that Michael Jordan – “cut” from his high school basketball team – used it to motivate his all-world basketball career.

That story has been repeated now for 33 years.

Turns out it isn’t true. Jordan was not cut ... he was assigned to the JVs rather than the varsity.

What does this all mean to you and your association or nonprofit?

It means you need to be monitoring what is being said about your and your organization. It means monitoring all forms of communications. It means signing up for multiple Google News Alerts. It means scanning all forms of Social Media. It means creating and following a “crisis communications plan” so you and your organization quickly (instantly) responds before errors, misstatements or lies spread and become the truth.

In today’s 365/24/7 world, you can’t afford to wait for the lawyers and bureaucracy to determine if or when to respond. If you do, it will be too late.

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