One of the most confronting aspects of social media is the instant criticism it can enable in reaction to posts and events worldwide. As social media is a very interactive community, sometimes it can prove itself challenging. However, it is also a platform to directly connect and interact with followers. This can prove to be a positive thing, as it gives influencers and role models over all different categories the opportunity to directly address and respond to criticism and events. A case in point would be that of Maria Sharapova, the world women’s tennis champion. Earlier this year, Sharapova failed a doping test that caused her to be banned from tennis for two years. Before facing the media in a press conference, she chose to release a statement on her Facebook page, addressing the scandal and using a personal tone to express her apologies and thanking her fans for support.
This caused the public to have an expressed amount of sympathy for Sharapova regarding the situation, and resulted in hashtags such as #LetMariaPlay and #IStandWithMaria to trend worldwide on sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
This tactic of directly communicating with fans is essential in maintaining positive face with the community that supports you as it enables the person to dispel any negative criticism and essentially control the narrative of the situation. By interacting with followers, a sense of personality and intimacy is given to the community on social media, heightening sympathy and understanding for the situation.
Another clear example of why personal interaction with the online community is essential for successful social media use.