Saturday, July 21, 2012

Misinterpreted Trending Topic Leads to PR Nightmare

Many would agree that Twitter has became the quickest way for people to get wind of various news stories. It acts as an outlet for all people to come together and express both grievances and words of support regarding certain topics and occurrences. 

Evidently, the heartbreaking tragedy that occurred in Aurora, Colorado Thursday night was yet another heavily tweeted about topic. Friday afternoon, The Huffington Post called attention to a particular post that demonstrates the severity of a tasteless tweet:

When I initially saw this, I was shocked. When I awoke Friday morning, the story was already all over the news and various social media outlets. Could CelebBoutique have really been that clueless to the situation, or were they perhaps attempting to profit over this heart-wrenching catastrophe?

The Huffington Post article then goes on to discuss the removal of the tweet by CelebBoutique who responded with several regretful tweets. The apologies indicated that they were very remorseful for the "insensitive tweet" and misunderstood the trend because they had not been aware of the reasoning behind it. Finally, they tweeted that their "PR is not US based and had not checked the reason for the trend". 

Although this does appear to have been a very disastrous accident, is it possible companies and people do take advantage of opportunities similar to this one from time to time? Additionally, the fact of the matter is that social media posts contain whatever message the user decides to exhibit and once something is on the web, it will exist forever and can be detrimental to a company's reputation. CelebBoutique may have removed the Tweet within the hour, but people will remember this for a long time and it could possibly hurt their sales.

To avoid a similar situation, always check the trending topic beforehand if you are even a bit unsure as to why it is trending. Although most of our tweets are not being broadcast to thousands, an intelligent and carefully reasoned social media presence should always be maintained. 

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