Combating Digital Assassins by Bert Cunningham


Which of the seven swords used by digital assassins will cut down your reputation or that of the brand you represent?

At today’s Social Media Association meeting, Fortune 500 PR and crisis management expert Richard Torrenzano detailed how easy it is for everyone and every brand to experience “15 minutes of shame” caused by digital assassins, which could take years to overcome or perhaps ruin reputations forever.

“Don’t think that if you are not participating in the social media conversation that your reputation can’t be ruined online by a digital attack,” said Torrenzano. “Others will create false information or blogs about you or your brand that can cause significant damage with a keystroke. And you have to know how to thwart or respond to those attacks.” 

Describing how “digital mosh pit” tactics such as new media mayhem, truth remix and silent slashers can cause reputation havoc, Torrenzano noted how the Seven Digital Shields articulated in his book can preventor counter the digital attacks.

Co-authored with Mark Davis, the book, “Digital Assassination:  Protecting Your Reputation, Brand, Or Business Against Online Attacks,” which rose to number 3 on Amazon, is available at

“The eight digital cycles that make up one 24-hour day requires that communicators be prepared to respond to a digital reputation attack at least within six to eight hours if not sooner,” said Torrenzano.  “Allowing a day or two to go by without responding means missing eight to 16 digital cycles. That gives too much time for negative PR to go viral.  The response must be much quicker or millions of dollars could be lost as a result of the unanswered attack.” 

Torrenzano also noted that at times it helps to have a sense of humor about the Internet to “keep our balance.” Knowing when and when not to respond to the Seven Digital Swords is crucial. And it’s all in his book.

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The Social Media Association empowers, informs, and inspires individuals and organizations to maximize the potential of social and digital media.