Wow. A case of dysfunction gone completely awry. Yes I meant to write it that way.

You can’t buy this kind of great PR – organic adoring credible word-of-mouth kudos from a non-sponsored citizen of the blogosphere. And this beautiful creation turns into a nightmare where the blogger is totally POed and thinks badly of the agency. That alone is a “loss of social media momentum” – major sigh.

That said I completely and totally understand the dilemma that the agency employee was in. And I also understand the dilemma that GovLoop was in. So I am like Gilligan on Gilligan’s Island, agreeing with the Captain and the Professor at the same time.

What I would say is that in the future, GovLoop might wish to post a disclaimer somewhere that says – “Hey folks you know how sensitive agencies are about social media – from time to time we might have to pull a post off the site. But it’s nothing personal and please don’t be annoyed. We’re part of the incremental revolution here.” Or something like that.

In this particular situation an employee of GL might have contacted the blogger directly to run interference and say, this employee’s job is probably on the line, can you post this somewhere else where we don’t have a say-so? Then wait and see what the blogger said.

I can definitely see what Robert is saying about the issue of control and respect – just because you post something doesn’t give nasty people the right to co-opt it and harm you. But social media is a different kind of world with different kind of rules and the community will keep you honest. You just have to speak up respectfully.

For example, from time to time I see that people lift my blog posts and put them on their website intact. I have a disclaimer on my blog (if it hasn’t disappeared) that gives people permission to do that, as long as they say I’m the author. One person was taking my blogs but my name wasn’t appearing. That got me upset until I realized it was something to do with the blog template and when you clicked on the link on the header, it took you to the source, with my name. I asked a few times and eventually they fixed the template (I don’t know if that has anything to do with me).

Other people aren’t as nice. What can you do – you’ve put the content out there.

Alice brings up the fact that there are so many dynamics going on, how do you navigate them. Answer: skillfully and diplomatically. This calls for telephone calls and talk.

Finally I think a lot of people are unclear about what is and is not considered public domain – content, photo, video, etc. It would be great if a subject matter expert could post something that clarifies this for the rest of us.

GovLoop is an invaluable resource for this very reason – out of problems come actual solutions!