When the Mob Takes Over

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This last week, a Facebook group went dangerously insane. What does that mean for you and your business?

I’m in a large fiction writer’s group in Facebook. One author has had a good year and half and sold a number of short stories. He’s a bit of the group expert and rock star.

He also has the bad luck to share the same first and last name of and look a bit like a convicted sexual predator. Someone got hold of that fact and posted the booking photo, side by side a profile shot of our favorite writer.

And that’s when things went insane. There were long ranting posts dissecting his stories. Was it some kind of code for sexual predators? He was reported to Facebook who immediately and permanently wiped him off Facebook. All his posts are gone. It’s like he never existed, at least on Facebook.

He hired a lawyer this week. He sent an email to the administrator of the group along a picture of his passport and birth certificate, showing the different middle name and the fact he was 6 years younger than the convicted pedophile.

It didn’t matter. “Photoshopped!” screamed the mob.

In one day, he went from a revered and trusted mentor for our group to the person no one had ever really trusted. There was something just wrong about him, they claimed. They just never could put their finger on it before.

The writer is still banned from Facebook. The group seems to be split half and half on whether they believe he’s innocent or not. He’s now published his personal identity and disclosed a lot of personal facts that he otherwise would never have done. And he did it in a group of approximately 45,000 people.

Mob rule is a dangerous thing. One idea, no matter how twisted or just flat wrong, can catch fire and spread.

Now think about what you would do if this happened to you and your business. Do you have a plan to turn the mob into your friends and not your enemy? Or do you hunker down and weather it out? Do you bury the bad press with a lot of good press and success?

It’s not enough to just do well in your business. You also need to protect yourself, your family and your business.

Today’s blog was obviously not about taxes. It was about protecting what you build, as you build it. And that really is the secret to lasting success in business.

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