In the world of social media, honesty and transparency is key and non-negotiable. This should be apparent to everyone who understands the medium and how to communicate within it.
For some reason, this approach was not clear to those who run the Teen Choice Awards. The backlash erupted after it was revealed how winners are picked.
Once fans discovered the award ceremony dedicated to performances, shows and movies geared towards teens was rigged, the digital gloves came off.
The lowdown is that teens vote for their favourites on teenchoiceawards.com. Then, the Teen Choice Awards gets to select the winner from the top-four vote getters.
How big did this issue get? The hashtag #TeensDontHaveaChoiceAwards was the top trending topic.
The whistleblower in the instance was Vine celebrity Cameron Dallas, who exposed the show to his 3.1 million Twitter followers. Dallas was a winner who claimed he found out about this six days before the awards show was to air.
Voters were up in arms on Twitter, referring to the awards as The Producer’s Choice Awards, and tweeting up a storm about the hours they have wasted in their lives voting for something that didn’t matter.
How the TCA rebounds for next year remains to be seen. Right now, it needs to repair its relationship with its fan base and voters and repair its overall image on social media.
This is a huge lesson for every brand in social media. You must always be transparent, and that doesn’t mean a quick disclaimer for legal purposes.
As important is if you ask people to care and invest their time, you have to be genuine about how their involvement matters. Pretending it matters has to potential to blow up in your face.
How TCA will engage fans for future voting will be interesting to watch, but right now they have a lot of work to do to fix a broken relationship.