Social media has been a general predicament for professionals. Stories of hangouts and hangovers are familiar among social media profiles of well-regarded professionals. Such rather extreme and revealing episodes have made social media become a threat rather than a resource.

However, negotiators can make ethical use of social media by using it as a secondary, collateral source of information to better understand either personal attitudes or corporate stances. As negotiations involve many personal interactions, learning more about a person is advantageous not to exploit weaknesses but to avoid disaster, especially while dealing with controversial subjects or policies.

Assessing “off the table” statements and specific actions are a primary source of information about a prospective deal’s genuine commitment and intentions. Social media assessment must be a part of a soft albeit comprehensive intelligence effort to understand counterparts to maximise comprehension and focusing on a positive outcome of negotiations.

While Amazon used a lot of data to make its decision to settle in New York, it paid little attention to a growing sentiment shift on the subject.

In February 2019, Amazon had to withdraw its project to create its HQ2 in New York after a controversial campaign brought by residents who fared the borough’s gentrification. While Amazon used a lot of data to make its decision to settle in New York, it paid little attention to a growing sentiment shift on the subject. Key figures acted as nodes to a viral concern that multiplied with no adequate measures taken to balance such a negative attitude towards a deal that could have brought a sensitive improvement in labour and average salaries in the least developed areas of the city.

The vast power and speed of social media interactions can overtake giants the size of Amazon; hence they are a force that every negotiator should keep in due consideration for the potential of few words spread among a wide and varied public.

Bridgemaker ltd. advises SMEs in negotiations in the MENA region, aiming to make our clients avoid pitfalls and dead ends. Write to us to know more: