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Note: I noticed that today, the little green “tweet” button on this article is not working.  Here is a shortened URL you can use to “tweet” this story and share the love: http://bit.ly/4CumNw

Jayme Soulati is a regular contributor to the {grow} community and she recently challenged me to comment on the whole Tiger Thang.  I challenged her back to go write her own darn blog and to my delight she did!  Here’s Jayme:

Public relations crisis managers are having a field day as the Tiger Woods debacle goes uncontrollably viral.

The gory details of such an event monopolize gossip moments and no one rests until truth is revealed; everyone is a skeptic today.  The intimate moments with how many, duration of romances and number of bong hits are now tantamount to corporate fraud, backlash over corporate scandal, or poorly manufactured products.

We owe thanks to so many for spicing up the ether and forever tarnishing their celebrity brand: Phelps, Bryant, Vick, Bonds, Letterman, Sanford, Spitzer, Clinton, Edwards, and… (am trying to be gender neutral here, but the pendulum is swaying – oh, yes, Charlie Sheen’s wife could be a husband stealer).

Living life under the public eye has never been more scrutinous (I frequently coin words) or pressurized. A simple transgression like driving a vehicle into a fire hydrant may have blown over with a public statement within 24 hours, but fear and shame about truth over-rode the immediate fess-up. Digging a deeper hole with half the truth is akin to a brand blemish gone to acne.

How is this unfolding saga relevant to our daily social media business lives?

As Tiger attempts to fix his still-fraying public image of gambler and lady’s man, he’ll grapple with questions about his private life forever.  He’ll be the butt of jokes. He’ll be scorned with “I told you he was too clean” remarks.  The damage control will now last a lifetime and be constantly echoed and amplified by a million Tweeters.

In this day of social media scrutiny, our companies, clients, and our professional selves may be vulnerable to the same intense under-glass existence within the social mediasphere. The rules of engagement are clear: truth, trust, transparency — not Tiger. You do not want to become an adjective.

The call to action here is a heightened awareness of personal vulnerability, risk and exposure.  And when “Tiger happens,” making your tee time is critical. Public relations must gauge the proper balance and momentum, and do it quickly.

It’ll be interesting to see how the ruins are restored.  Watch the handlers for the next 12 months; you might learn a few things to repair a brand of your own some day.  And, perhaps, you have some immediate counsel of exactly what that plan ought to be?

Jayme Soulati is a 25-year public relations veteran and can be found at www.soulati.com and on Twitter, @Soulati.

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