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IP Quick Intellect

Sticks and Stones? Words can actually hurt too...

Posted by on 28 May 2013

As a member of Generation X, I am embracing the whole social media revolution.   I know that social media is a great marketing tool and it can also be a great way to keep in touch.  However, given the commercial risks associated with social media and the potential for such enormous backlash from both the media and followers, you sometimes have to wonder is it is really worth all the effort?



Take Delta Goodrem as an example.  She recently re-tweeted a photograph of fans dressed as 'The Voice' judges, in which one of the men had black paint over his face and arms and fake scars on his cheeks to represent Seal. When Delta re-tweeted the photo she wrote the following:

“That is hilarious!! Hope u had fun! Ha!!”

Unfortunately, her comment resulted in an immediate flurry of on-line chatter, with some people branding her a ‘racist.’ The incident was even reported and discussed in the media. As a result, Delta later deleted the tweet and apologised for the incident. 

In my role as a commercial lawyer, I work hard to protect my clients’ brands and it concerns me that one passing comment on Twitter could potentially damage a brand that a business or individual has been developing over a significant period of time.   

Whilst it is comforting that any publicity (good or bad) from a social media incident generally only has a very short life span, there is still the potential for damage to 'stick'.  Given that social media is a relatively new vehicle, we are still not quite sure of the long-term damage to a brand's reputation that can be caused.

The whole Delta incident only reinforces the importance of monitoring and potentially moderating what you post, and what is posted on your corporate social media pages.  It also highlights the importance of responding quickly to any public reaction to your social media activities.

If you would like to speak with one of the lawyers in Coleman Greig's Brand Protection team, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us on 02 9895 9230, or via

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