In an interesting turn of events, Singapore's Minister of State Teo Ser Luck denies that he had made the controversial comment about foreign worker preferring to sleep without mattresses in dormitories. The Ministry of Manpower, on whose Facebook page the comment appeared, clarified that the comment was made by a Facebook page administrator and the Ministry regrets the unintended implications, and any misunderstanding that the post had caused.
Instead of abating the negative publicity for Teo, the Ministry's comments only fuelled further anger from netizens. Most netizens view the statement as an attempt by Teo to push the blame, with many doubting that it was possible for a lowly civil servant to post on behalf of a Minister without the Minister's personal clearance. Netizens have also alluded to Teo's poor character where he takes credit when things are positive and blames the FB administrator when things turn out bad.
So where did Mr Teo and/or his PR team go wrong? And, more importantly, what can public personalities do to avoid such faux pas.
At CW Fong & Associates, besides focusing on what contents to post for our clients, we also have an Out of Bounds (OB) list. This OB list comprises contents or images which the personality (and our Team) should never post on the personality's social media accounts. In Mr Teo's case, as there is a strong pre-existing perception that Ministers in Singapore have lost touch with the common man, having an OB list would have prevented a post commenting that foreign workers prefer to sleep on hard boards instead of soft mattresses. As the comment reinforces the negative image of the personality, the social media post is a clear invitation to be flamed.
Given the nature of social media, knowing what not to post is as important as knowing what to post. In our experience working with companies and personalities, the OB list is often unheard of. Not surprisingly, it is those companies without the OB list that get into trouble on social media.
If your organization does not have an OB list and needs assistance in developing one, contact our social media consultants at anna[a]cwfongandassociates.com.