What Can This Naked Man Teach Us About Active Listening?

September 23, 2016

Something odd has transpired in @6ABC’s Twitter mentions over the course of this week. Take a deep breath and scroll through the replies to any of their tweets. So go ahead and click through below. 

You could click through this tweet:

Or this one: 

Or even this one.

Poor Cecily 🙁

Who is this butt-naked man staring back at me?” you may ask. Great question.

Enter Tom Bro Dude

What you’re seeing is (what’s unofficially called) Philly Twitter, the tri-state area’s loose community of Weird Twitter-literate civic culture commentators, pay tribute to one of their own: the late Tom Reynolds, aka @tombrodude. Reynolds, who passed away last weekend, was renowned among Philly Twitter (and beyond) as one of its great storytellers, jokesters, and friends. You can see a list of his greatest hits here.

Marc’s fave Tom Bro Dude tweet:


Kyle’s fave:


Since one of Reynolds’ long-running jokes centered around a questionably conceived feud with @6ABC and their #6ABCsnow hashtag, friends and fans have celebrated Reynolds’ life and savant-level social media talent all week by incessantly and aggressively tweeting our local ABC affiliate the buck-naked man image you may have seen above. Reynolds was often found populating various parts of the internet with said nude man.

This act of trolling has yet to produce acknowledgment from 6ABC aside from a “no comment”, reports PhillyVoice.

But here’s where things get interesting:


Ruh roh.

So when should active listening affect your message?

The Tom Bro Dude tribute has raised an interesting question surrounding active listening and (to a larger extent) social customer service as a whole: What happens when your accounts have so thoroughly been attempted to be derailed?

The way we see it, 6ABC has two options in this scenario: what they’re currently doing and what they could do. Which of the two is the right way to go about navigating these waters is for anyone to decide. But let’s take a closer look.

What 6ABC is currently doing: They’re trying not to cave. The news station’s Twitter account is going about business as usual and, we assume, hoping that this tribute will fade. Even Cecily Tynan, who is so often praised for her social awareness and relentless engagement, fought through the butts to deliver a crowdsourced report on a recent sunset. Let it go long enough and let a ‘problem’ (we use that term loosely) solve itself.

We’re yet to see how this approach pays off. Still lots of butts, though. So many butts.

What 6ABC could do: Tweet out an acknowledgement of Reynolds’ impact. Maybe even write up a short post to link out to in said tweet. Anyone could call this “giving in to the trolls,” but given the troll’s well-intentioned nature, imagine what would happen. Could @6ABC be relegated to digital folk-hero status among Philly Twitter? We can picture the array of positive press surrounding a tip of the hat to Reynolds’ legacy. Could they go, dare we say, viral?

That’s for them to decide and us to talk about. So let’s talk. What do you think 6ABC should do in this situation? Drop us a line in the comments or on Twitter and we’ll figure it out together.

Additionally, you can visit a GoFundMe page benefitting Reynolds’ family here.