Ryan Giggs and the power of Social Media

Twitter has really hit the headlines this week as the Ryan Giggs Gagging order (super injunction) has been the main news piece on TV, radio and all mainstream newspapers.

It seems that social media communication has really put a cat in amongst the pigeons and has made a mockery of England's privacy laws.

I am less interested in the details of a premier league footballers private affairs (excuse the pun!) but I am fascinated by how this has been a very visible example of the power of social media communication.

The issue centred around a court order banning a newspaper (traditional media) from running a story. Ryan Giggs didn't want the story to get out so he obtained an injunction, incensed by this someone in the know decided to announce the story on Twitter. The gossip spread and we quickly had a situation where a survey suggested that despite the injunction, an estimated 60% of the population knew it was Ryan Giggs!

What fascinates me is the effectiveness of Twitter as a means of communicating information which somehow seemed more believable and credible because it was a message from someone you know and/or follow.

Ryan Giggs has ended up doing more damage to himself this way than had he allowed to story to break in the national press. If the story had been published I think most intelligent people would have taken very little notice (OK that doesn't include Sun readers!). Lets compare the two methods;

  • A lightweight redtop newspaper renown for inaccurate gossip
  • A tweet from a trusted contact

Somehow it all seems so much more believable (that it was Ryan Giggs, not the story itself) when you see the information from someone that you know and follow.

This just shows us how effective a message through social media can be, even if the story does originate from traditional media it is noticed and taken more seriously when 'shared' by someone you follow via social media.

The nature of communicating is, in my opinion, going through revolutionary change and this is bound to have an effect on every business over the next few years.

Whilst a story of this nature (celebrity gossip) would not be appropriate for LinkedIn I believe the principle (the power of social media communication) still holds true for  information of a more professional nature is a reminder to us all that we have at our fingertips a very powerful communication tool!