It wasn’t a flood, but it could have led to a flood of bad publicity. Not an earthquake, but you could feel the rumble of email complaints coming in. It wasn’t a tornado…oh, enough with the disaster puns? Okay. On Tuesday, one of The Red Cross’s social media managers accidentally posted a tweet that referenced #gettngslizzerd (that’s “drunk” to all of you non Far East Movement fans) with Dogfish Head (that’s a type of beer to all you Bud Light Drinkers – me included). Though it was supposed to be to his personal account, a small error using Hootsuite instead posted it under the Twitter handle of the 130 year old humanitarian organization. Yikes.
This was about to be something featured on the top stories on Yahoo.com as a “social media disaster”. Come on, you can see that headline. Something that would have used more bad disaster puns than the first few sentences in this post and ended with “see what was said” as the hyperlink. It would have also been a chance for an established entity to release the type of press release that would make your freshman journalism professor smile, and anyone outside of C Suites and PR Circles cringe. Instead, The Red Cross took the role as “humanitarian organization” to heart – especially the “human” part.
Here’s their response: http://redcrosschat.org/2011/02/16/twitter-faux-pas/ If this was some weird 80’s movie/social media conference hybrid thing, The Red Cross would have just burst into the prom, the music would have stopped, and all of the social media “gurus”, “ninjas”, “geeks”, “motorheads”, “jocks” “basketcases” and “princesses” would have slow clapped. It was quick, efficient, said what it needed to say, and ended up getting a ton of great press and even donations http://www.dogfish.com/community/news/press-releases/gettngslizzered-for-a-good-cause.htm Let’s get another slow clap going.
This is something that social has allowed companies to do. Say “yea, we screwed up, but we’re humans, we’re not a bunch of suits hiding behind press releases”. Don’t get me wrong, press releases are still necessary in the business world, but there’s just something about the “apology” releases that are sometimes worse than the actual thing they’re apologizing for. That said, I am officially drafting up a release to apologize for the disaster puns at the beginning of this post. Hopefully it will be more cringe worthy than my terrible attempts at humor.