Social media gotchaism

Posted on 12/10/2012


Kay Burley keeps chickensNovelist, chicken fancier and facelift aficionado.

There are a lot of words to describe Kay Burley, but regardless of what you make of her insensitive interview in Machynlleth, she is also another potential victim of ‘gotchaism’.

And Burley’s case demonstrates that technology and social media mean that anyone is now at risk from this highly contagious phenomenon – where content can be taken out of context.

‘Gotcha journalism’ used to be limited to headline coverage of a taken-out-of-context soundbite, or dismissed as the ramblings of Sarah Palin, but now it’s easy for anyone to cut up soundbites and turn them against the speaker.

From Obama’s “You didn’t build that” and Mitt Romney’s “Wawa gate” and “47 percent” to Nick Clegg’s “I’m Sorry” and the ever wonderful Cassette Boy, context is no longer in the hands of the content creator.

And the lesson for communicators? Don’t just think about what your message is, but how it can be taken out of context and what you’ll do when it happens…

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