12 Cringe-worthy Social Media Blunders of 2012

12 Cringe-worthy Social Media Blunders of 2012

Did they really just tweet that?

Yes, indeed, they did.  And, these are only 12 of the more memory-staining, cringe-inducing blunders of the past year.

Check yourself before you tweet!  The power of the digital word cannot be erased and, thus, has proven grandiose mass-destruction to a business’s reputation.

 1- Chick Fil-A

Perhaps marriage equality, or IN-equality, ISN’T something a fast-food chicken joint should be endorsing.  This year, the Chick Fil-A founder publicly voiced his political stance against same-sex marriage.  To his chagrin, mass tweeters began a vitriolic lobby against his organization, posting anti-Chick Fil-A tweets, donning #Chickfilgay hashtags.  Although the attacks were intended to debunk the chicken joint’s business, the bad press seemed to draw more business than ever to the anti-gay establishment.

 2- American Rifleman

Bad timing, bad timing!  Shortly after the Aurora, Colorado movie theatre shooting, the National Rifle Association (NRA)-affiliated journal, American Rifleman, unfortunately posted lighthearted, pro-gun tweets.  Though the tweet was accidental and created prior to the event, the cultural milieu of the situation was sour and this tweet was an untimely faux pas.

 3- Celeb Boutique

The online fashion shop, Celeb Boutique, also posted inadvertent, ill-hearted tweets related to the Aurora shootings.  In an attempt to highlight a trending garment (Aurora dresses), the boutique issued a tweet featuring the #Aurora hashtag, failing to research the real reason why the Aurora topic was trending.

 4- Donald Trump

The 2012 election coverage has possessed some of the most controversial discourses to date.  Big-wig Donald Trump felt so passionately about his disgust with electoral candidate President Barack Obama, that he voiced a plethora of ill-mannered tweets.  Initially, he offered to donate $5 million in exchange for President Obama’s college records and passport application.  The nature of his tweets continued with aggressive frequency and poor taste.  The backlash of his tweets was so vile, that Macy’s was forced to deny Trump his previous position as spokesman for the department store.

 5- Ann Coulter

Conservative American lawyer and social and political commentator, Ann Coulter, was another individual to voice a not-so-discreet political agenda via Twitter.  In support of her electoral candidate Romney, she issued the following message: I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.  I don’t think she got the memo that using the word “retard” is not PC!

 6- Microsoft

Unfortunately, the social media manager for Microsoft offered a tweet via Microsoft’s business account, rather than his personal account that he believed he was on. When responding to a tweet from former U.S. labor secretary Robert Reich, he stated: @RBReich your granddaughter’s level of discourse and policy > those of Ann Coulter.  FAIL.

 7- American Apparel

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, American Apparel thought it fiscally smart to offer a KILLER one and a half day sale!!  Failing to truly understand the magnitude of the event, they assumed that individuals would be “bored” and, thus, looking to do some online shopping.

 8- McDonald’s

In an attempt to promote some positive brand feedback, McDonald’s pushed the trending hashtag #McDStories.  To their dismay, individuals rampantly tweeted ramblings of disgust regarding the fast-food chain.  Apparently, McDonald’s responded that the #McDStories “did not go as planned.”

 9- KitchenAid

Political FAIL!  In October, during the 1st presidential debate, President Obama briefly mentioned the likes of his grandmother.  Shortly thereafter, KitchenAid issued the following tweet: Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! She died 3 days b4 he became president. #nbcpolitics.  Not only did the company, with 24, 000 followers, attack the President in poor taste, but also brought the man’s deceased grandmother into the picture.

 10- Anthony Weiner

U.S Representative Anthony Weiner got himself into a sticky situation, when partially nude photos of himself surfaced on the Twitter account of a college student.  Claiming that this was the wrong-doing of a computer hacker, Anthony denied his role in the claim; however, as more photos emerged, the politician was compelled to come clean and apologize.

 11- American Red Cross

American Red Cross issued a regrettable tweet, when an employee believed she was logged into her personal Twitter account.  Mentioning her critical find of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer, she continued to muddy the American Red Cross reputation by attaching a #gettingslizzerd hashtag.

 12- StubHub

We all love the weekend after a long work week, but no one loves the weekend more than SOME GUY over at StubHub!  In an attempt to “shout out” his enthusiasm that it was Friday, whilst including the F-bomb, the tweeter articulated that working at the establishment was a “stubsucking hell hole.”

How to handle social media negativity: 

It might seem logical, and desirable, to want to crawl under a blanket and hide for all eternity when social media sins like the aforementioned occur.  However, honesty and communication go a LONG way in regaining the respect and integrity from the general public.

OTV would like to off its OWN blunder.  Because, hey, no one’s perfect!  But, knowing how to resolve an issue in social media is essential to your online reputation.

One of our clients is Tutti Frutti, a frozen yogurt establishment.  Over the past weekend, an unhappy customer posted on the wall of Tutti Frutti’s Facebook page.  Rather than lash back or even ignore this customer, it was important for us to diffuse the situation by immediately addressing her concern, apologizing, escalating the customer service situation to a manager, and offering our best explanation regarding her disappointment.

It’s an imperfect world and, as long as we understand that fact, we can further acknowledge our best attempts at alleviating even the most distasteful of blunders. When you transform a customer’s bad experience into a positive one, they might just become a customer of yours for life!

Good luck in 2013! Let’s hope we see less of these PR nightmares in the news next year.

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