Social media can be a great place to share your experiences and make new friends. From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn and Pinterest, social media keeps us in touch and aware of what is going on in the world.
However, this constant barrage of information can sometimes backfire.
Users with high profiles, like celebrities, politicians, and companies, can get into big trouble with only a few misspoken or mistype words. Even the timing or tone of a post can negatively affect their reputations.
With that in mind, here are some notable flubs by some well-known names:
Ashton Kutcher – The famous flub from the popular That 70s Show star seemed innocuous to him. After all, how was he to know that Tweeting “How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste.” Would turn into a media circus.
You see, the one thing Ashton missed is that when Penn State fired Hawkeye coach Joe Paterno it was due to his involvement in a student sexual abuse scandal.
So, what did Ashton do when he found out, by the reaction of his followers no doubt? He deleted the tweet, apologized for sending it, and then gave his Twitter account over to his media team.
Good move there, Ashton. At least then he would have plausible deniability!
Anthony Weiner – United States Representative Anthony Weiner made a huge mistake. He thought he could send lewd photographs and inappropriate messages without getting caught.
Apparently a photo of a man’s crotch was sent to a college student from his Twitter account. I could make a wiener joke, but I will not. That would just be bad taste.
The politician claimed his account had been hacked, but when other pictures started to come to the surface he could no longer deny his involvement. He finally confessed and apologized for sending dirty pictures and messages to several women over the course of a few years.
These messages ended up costing him his job as, under mounting pressure from the media and fellow politicians, he gave in and stepped down from office.
Woody Harrelson – Best known for playing the rather brainless bartender on the television sitcom Cheers, the actor made a huge mistake when he agreed to do an AMA (ask me anything) session on Reddit.
The mistake was not the fact that he agreed to do it, the mistake came when he responded poorly to a fan question.
When a fan commented about a story involving Woody crashing a hotel prom and sleeping with a student, the actor responded, “First off, it is not true, and second off, I don’t want to answer questions about that. Let’s focus on the film people.”
This comment angered the fans as they felt the whole talk was one big publicity stunt for the actor’s new movie Rampart. As a result of Woody’s statement and obvious promotion, the meme “Scumbag Woody Harrelson” was created which made fun of the actor turning every question into an answer about Rampart.
In fact, fans called Woody’s AMA the worst of all time and an epic fail by Woody Harelson’s public relations machine. In fact, there was even a small online campaign against woody’s movie Rampart.
Kareem Jackson – Football player Kareem Jackson, cornerback for the Houston Texans, made more than a few people upset when he tweeted a picture of himself at a cockfight.
At the time he was on vacation in the Dominican Republic where cockfighting is legal. He also tweeted, “My first time ever seeing a chicken fight to the death. It was crazy. Look at all these people that be at these chicken fights.
You would think it is a college football game.” As a result of his poorly planned tweets, angry fans rose up, comparing the photo to Michael Vick’s dogfighting. Kareem deleted the tweets and photo soon after.
Kenneth Cole – It is not just individuals who make social media bloopers. Fashion design and clothing manufacturing company Kenneth Cole made a major faux pas when they tweeted “Millions are in uproar in #Cario.
Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at [link] – KC.” Not only did they make light of the riots in Egypt, but they also promoted their company at the same time.
As a result, the media immediately began coverage and commentary. The designer apologized on his company’s Twitter less than two hours later, but the damage was already done. The hashtag #boycottKennethCole and a new trend of humorous (but fake) insensitive Kenneth Cole tweets lit up the social media world.
Nestle –When the Swiss consumer goods company joined forces with Sinar Mas, an Indonisan palm oil company, Greenpeace went on the warpath.
Greenpeace acitvists flooded the Nestle Facebook page with comments and altered logos protesting the contract. They said that Sinar Mas was responsible for the destruction of Indonisan rainforests.
This flood of negativity led to a fed up and frustrated Facebook page manager who decided to shoot back with sarcastic comments like “Thanks for the lesson in manners. Consider yourself embraced.”
As a result, Nestle did end up stopping its contract with Sinar Mas, but the Facebook comments have become an example of how NOT to respond to criticism.
Ragu – Ragu, the sauce section of the UnileverCompany, made a huge tactical error. They sent out tweets to popular male bloggers to get them to check out their video of mothers complaining about fathers in the kitchen.
Their catch phrase was “Do your kids like it when you make dinner?” Since the video was more insulting than satirical and their Twitter campaign looked like a spam attack, Ragu quickly got negative feedback.
They ended up alienating the very father bloggers they were trying to woo and the dads told their followers that Ragu used spam tactics and campaigned against dads.
Not exactly the message I think they wanted to give, was it?
All social media blunders do not have to end in disaster, however. One company did the right thing when something wrong happened. Here is an example of how to handle slipups when they happen, with #8:
American Red Cross –The volunteer run, humanitarian organization has a Twitter account too.
By mistake, an employee sent out this tweet, “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer… when we drink we do it right #gettingslizzered.” She thought she was on her personal account, but it turns out she was not!
Thankfully, the Red Cross handled the situation like a pro. They removed the offending tweet and then sent out this one, “We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.”
This gained the Red Cross some positive attention for having a sense of humor about the mishap and even garnered them a “beer for blood” deal with the Dogfish Head beer company.
As you can see, there are right ways and wrong ways to use social media. Even as private individuals we need to be aware of what we post online.
Remember that nothing is ever truly removed, forgotten, or private online.
When you post, make sure you are only sharing things you would be comfortable for everyone to know about. If in doubt, do not share. Learn from the mistakes of others and do not repeat them. If you do make a mistake however, handle it professionally, calmly, and with a sense of humor.
About the Author:
This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of http://www.liveinnanny.com/. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: – jdebra84 @ gmail.com.
Image by Alex E. Proimos