Mis-Tweets: A PR disaster waiting to happen!


While the online community may laugh at crazy, random posts by @charliesheen, they aren’t quite as amused when these tweets come from a brand that they trust. With the invention of HootSuite, TweetDeck and other similar applications, Twitter users can now easily post to multiple Twitter accounts simultaneously from one location. This is really helpful and convenient if you have something interesting to share about your brand that you feel would also be relevant to your personal network of friends. Sadly, however, we rarely hear examples of how these types of integration are helping better promote companies. Instead, we hear how the Red Cross account tweeted about #gettingslizzard (via Red Cross employee Gloria Huang) or how Kenneth Cole made a bad joke that shouldn’t have been shared with anyone.

Courtesy of Mashable

MashableThe Huffington Post and many other new sites picked up on the rogue tweet by the American Red Cross’ Twitter account. posted a great story about how the Red Cross handled this potetial PR disaster. The Red Cross quickly informed it’s public of the mistake and stepped up to apologize. The individual responsible, Gloria Huang, also took responsibility for her mistake. The company mentioned in the tweet even tweeted about the issue and encouraged fans of their beer brand to donate to the Red Cross! What could have been a real brand image disaster ended up showing consumers that the Red Cross was calm in the face of disaster and even raised money for the organization as beer enthusiasts donated to support the cause.

Courtesy of Mashable

On the other hand, we see that Kenneth Cole’s mis-tweet quickly became a Tweet Heard ‘Round The World. The tweet seriously offended a large portion of the online community, and inspired a good deal of questioning about his lack of good taste. A fake account @KennethColePR sprang up almost immediately and posted tweets that put the #Cairo comment into perspective.

The viral nature of Kenneth Cole’s original tweet and the intense negative reaction too it led to an official apology for the tweet on the Kenneth Cole Facebook page. The intensity of feeling about the situation prevented the apology from repairing much of the damage to Kenneth Cole’s brand image, especially since the designer has tweeted in such a fashion on previous occasions. Overall, the tweet was definitely a public relations disaster.

We saw from the Red Cross case and the Kenneth Cole case how different companies choose to handle such issues. Today, we saw another mis-tweet bring attention to a well known brand. Chrysler’s Twitter account, @ChryslerAutos, caused a stir today by “dropping the F-bomb”.

Courtesy of Jalopnik

Chrysler recognized the mistake quickly and removed the tweet from their account. They also published an apology and a commitment to taking care of the situation.

While the original tweet has been removed, the retweets are still available for everyone to see. According to Mashable’s story, the mis-tweet was first noted by Jalopnik who also reported that the tweet was linked to an employee of the social media company that manages Chrysler’s online media. According to a blog post by Chrysler, the employee responsible for the tweet “has since been terminated”. While Chrysler might have thought that firing the employee responsible would help them gain a positive response, comments on their blog show a good bit of debate about whether the punishment fit the crime.Overall, however, comments show a shared sentiment that  Chrysler was much too “corporate” in their response.

The Chrysler blogs comments also point out that the tweet’s anti-Detroit tone is in complete opposition to the pro-Detroit sentiment inspired by the 2011 Super Bowl advertisement campaign, Imported from Detroit. The tweet has caused an increase of almost 200 followers to the @ChryslerAuto account as people hear about the mis-tweet, but it is yet to be shown how th crisis will effect the company overall.

Lessons are definitely to be learned from this. First and foremost, don’t post your personal content to your business profiles. This can (and almost always will) lead to disaster. If you are mistake prone as I am, don’t link persona and business accounts. It is way too easy to accidentally publish to all or forget which sites you are pushing your content to at a given time. Also, make sure that if you are part of a crisis such as this you handle it in a way that your following can connect too. A dry corporate press release really doesn’t serve as a sufficient or appropriate response to those who are actively engaged in the online community with your brand. Most importantly, however, is to beware what you tweet and where you tweet it. Happy Safe Tweeting!


One Stop Shop or Too Much Information?


Too many profile, too many sites, too many amazing social media tools to choose from . . .

This is definitely a quandary that has faced all tech-savvy students who realize that social media is made up of much more than just Twitter, Facebook and Myspace. While most of us probably have a profile on the 4 primary sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & YouTube), most of us have also probably dabbled in a large number of other social media outlets. I for one am guilty of being on Tumblr, Meebo (which I never really use), StumbleUpon (which I haven’t figured out yet), FourSquare (which may or may not be safe) and GetGlue (which only feeds my media addictions), as well as many other sites I can’t even recall at the moment.

In an ideal world, it would be perfect if you could have a one-stop-shop where you could check and update all of the sites from one main page. While applications such as TweetDeck, Hootsuite and others allow us to post to quite a wide variety of sites, they don’t really allow us to view a wide variety of the content posted there.

Enter the Social Media Headquarters sites . . .

Paid services such as GizaPage allow companies and individuals a way to access all of their social media profile from one central “social media hub”. Other pages such as Power.com are “basically blurring the boundaries that separate one network from the other and allowing to use them all from one interface and exchange information and images from any of them and to all of them” (ThoughtPick) . DandyID suggests that you “Collect Yourself”.

Ever the curious one when it comes to social media, I tried out a few of the free sites. Retaggr allowed me to sign up for free and connect with every account I had and offered options for all sorts of random accounts I never thought about. Surely you want everyone to associate your Facebook, Amazon wishlist, Pandora channels and Meebo accounts with one another. Right? And, while using the site is free it costs to update the theme of your sight from the obnoxious blue color it is.  The other sight I signed up for was DandyID. The layout was a bit more Blogger-ish in style with rounded edges and a bit more of a bubbly design. There were so many account linking options on this site that they offer you the option of searching the sites or viewing the top 30, in addition to the default alphabetical list. To prevent you from having to experiment on your own, I will leave the profiles I made posted until next week (3/5)–Retggr & DandyID. One Retaggr feature I preferred was the way it actually pulled the RSS feeds for blogs and such so you could see a broad view of what your overall social media profile looked like. DandyID seemed to offer a simpler overall profile with better navigation options and analytics options (with a paid upgrade of course).

After experimenting with creating these sites, I began to worry though that these sites provide WAY TOO MUCH information about any person. With one click of a mouse, a stalker or anyone who was researching you could know what you have been blogging about, tweeting about, where you work, what you want to listen to, what you are buying, and so on. The idea of it even creeps me out. People who are concerned about simple Facebook privacy issues should be HORRIFIED!!! These sites even ask about your home address and phone number, and I promise you there are people out there dumb enough to share.

While the simple solution seems to be a one stop shop for all our social media obsessions, the simpler, safer and better solution might just be a social media purge. Is it really necessary that I have so many accounts, when all I really take time to use is a select few? I think not. Over the next week as I asses my personal online brand, I fully intend to eliminate some of the social media profiles I created months ago and have only used twice (including the two new ones I just built!). Will you do the same?