Because expressing how dumb that was in words just doesn't work.

By Amanda Smyth Connor

The past few weeks in social media have been exciting for a number of reasons. SXSWi took over Twitter in full force while social media nerds the world over descended upon Austin for a week of tech updates and business networking. And in other parts of the country, both the American Red Cross and Chrysler posted tweets that were, in all honesty, epic failures.

The ARC social media specialist, Gloria Huang, posted the following tweet on the ARC Twitter account:

“Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head Midas Touch beer…when we drink we do it right. #gettngslizzerd”

The tweet stayed on the ARC twitter page for an hour before anyone from the company noticed – enough time for everyone else to notice. The ARC recovered, pulled the tweet and tweeted the following:

“We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.”

From this, Dogfish Head Brewery then started a campaign asking people to donate to the Red Cross using the hashtag #gettngslizzerd. Huang was not fired, but did lose her Twitter privileges and at the end of the day, the ARC got a nice new wave of donations from the snafu.

In another part of the country, another rogue tweet was sent out from a Chrysler social media specialist.

“I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #MotorCity and yet no one here knows how to f***ing drive.”

Within 24-hours, the employee had been very publicly fired and Chrysler had issued a statement saying the employee’s actions had harmed the company’s brand positioning and management.

My question for you, FZers, is: Based on how each company handled these mess-ups, how would you have handled this situation? Have you ever made a mistake like this? How did you handle it?

Amanda Smyth Connor is a community manager for a major publishing company, owns her own wedding planning business, and has managed online communities and content development for many start-up and Fortune 500 companies. She has been a professional editor for more years than she can remember.

2 thoughts on “#EpicFail”

  1. I’ve never made this kind of mistake, but then again I work for myself so even if I did, who’d be able to do anything to me? 🙂 Having said that, I know that once I tweet something it’s out there forever, so even in my personal tweeting I’m relatively careful with what I say and how I say it. I’m also already ready for any potential consequences that could come based on something I tweet, since I know that everyone doesn’t share my politics, and overall I don’t really care. At that point, I figure as long as I’m ready to deal with whatever comes from it, I’m good.

    Great stuff, and I’m glad the Red Cross was able to recover from something definitely inappropriate that came from their account, by their “specialist”. lol

  2. Hey Mitch,

    You’re very lucky to have never made this mistake. It’s becoming more and more common as fast fingers click the wrong tab in programs like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, where a simple click can leave you posting a message from the wrong account.

    I agree that the ARC handled the situation appropriately – it’s just a tweet, let’s all calm down. But had the situation not worked out so well for the ARC, I’m sure they would have been quite a bit more aggressive in their response.

    Moral of the story – Measure twice, tweet once.

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