Friday, 20 July 2012

Who's responsible for your social media? YOU. JUST YOU.

I've seen some insensitive/distasteful/whatever bullshit on Twitter before, but today, social media idiocy left me nauseous to a whole new level.

What. The. Hell.

(In case you don't know, the #Aurora tag was trending because of the Colorado movie theatre shootings that have so far left 12 dead and dozens injured.)

It would appear that they've since deleted the tweet (it doesn't appear on their feed, but because so many people responded in disgust to it, it's visible when you look at the replies).

They claim that it was an honest mistake, via the following (I've rewritten it as one paragraph as it was tweeted in chunks):

"We are incredibly sorry for our tweet about Aurora - Our PR is NOT US based and had not checked the reason for the trend, at that time our social media was totally UNAWARE of the situation and simply thought it was another trending topic - we have removed the very insensitive tweet and will of course take more care in future to look into what we say in our tweets. Again we do apologize for any offence caused this was not intentional & will not occur again. Our most sincere apologies for both the tweet and the situation. - CB"

So now what?

As a communications professional, I found this incredibly frustrating, as it illustrates the problem with how many organizations manage social media content. Obviously, this online retailer wanted to have a Twitter presence; yet, whomever they hired to manage their PR couldn't even be bothered to check the context within which #Aurora was trending. THERE IS NO REASONABLE EXCUSE FOR THIS. The apology implies that the problem is that the PR firm is not US-based, but uh, it's not like it wasn't immediately obvious to me (in Canada) from one glance at the content that had the #Aurora hashtag was about something a retailer should not be piggybacking on to sell a fucking dress.

We are responsible for what we say; and if we decide to hire someone to do it for us, WE ARE STILL RESPONSIBLE. Yes, this was a "mistake", but it was an AVOIDABLE mistake, because any communications professional who dares call themselves that should have done their due diligence and taken the 10 seconds it would have took to check what #Aurora was referring to.

Should the company be forgiven? It's obviously not the type of retailer I would shop from, but if I did, I would stop. Apology or no, what happened tells me that they only want to engage on social media to sell shit, and couldn't even be bothered to do so in a genuine way. The company and their chosen representatives got caught (in the most offensive of ways) trying to SELL SHIT IN THE AFTERMATH OF A MASS KILLING. May their (I hope) quick demise teach companies, organizations, and individuals that there are real consequences for callous and inexcusable negligence.

/end rant