Think Before You Tweet! The Top 5 Mis-tweets of 2011

By: Allie Herzog

It’s that time of year again.  It seems there is a top 5 list for everything as bloggers try to recap the best and the worst of the year.  I figured I’d throw my two cents into the mix and without further ado I present to you, in no particular order, my picks for the worst mistakes made on Twitter this past year and the lessons we can all learn from each.  Feel free to add your picks to my list in the comments!

1) Kenneth Cole – In February of this year – Kenneth Cole himself sent a tweet from this now infamous brand’s handle.  In the height of the turmoil in Cairo, he tweeted “Millions are in an uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo.”

The twittersphere (and everyone else soon after) went crazy prompting a subsequent apology post, followed soon after by a parody account @KennethColePR.

 

Lesson learned:  See title.  Think before you tweet people!  Not every trending topic is relevant to your brand and as a rule, you should probably stay away from sensitive topics like, wars, revolutions and massive international crises.

2) Rep Anthony Weiner -This past June, New York’s very own seemingly tech-savvy congressman committed the ultimate Twitter fail when he mistakenly sent a public tweet instead of a Direct Message.  The contents of this DM being a lewd photo of his junk.  After the tweet was spotted – Weiner’s camp stated that the tweet was the result of a hacked account.  Within days, Weiner admitted his error, issued an apology and ultimately resigned from Congress leaving behind the legacy of my new favorite scandal “Weinergate.”

Lesson learned:  There’s a few lessons in this one!  a) Learn the difference between “@” and “D.”  b) Don’t take pictures of your private parts. c) Don’t send said pictures to anyone d) Especially not someone who ISN’T your wife e) When you do accidentally tweet these pictures, fess up right away rather than blaming a hacker.

3) Chrysler Auto – In March, an employee of Chrysler’s social media agency sent out a tweet meant for his personal account from the @ChryslerAutos account. The tweet read “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to (expletive) drive.”  The tweet was deleted and an apology was issued from the account but this mixup costed not only the employee his job, but the entire agency losing the Chrysler Motors account (pause for shudder from agency account folks everywhere).

Lesson learned:  A good lesson here besides the obvious “be more careful with multiple twitter accounts” would be to keep your personal opinions to yourself on social networks when they relate in any way to your job or clients. This tweet should never have been tweeted from an employee’s personal account to begin with being that he was so involved with the Detroit motor industry.  When you work for a agency and represent several brands, you need to be careful with what you say publicly about the industry, end of story.

4) American Red Cross – In February, an employee of the American Red Cross accidentally sent a tweet meant for her personal account regarding her after-hours drinking habits.  The tweet read, “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer…when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd” Shortly after the tweet was sent the Red Cross followed up with a refreshingly calm and humorous tweet and ultimately gained an increase in donations and lots of good press.  Dogfish Brewery actually helped lead a call for donations.  The second tweet read, “We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.” 

Lesson learned: a) Be accountable for your mistakes.  Own up to them and be transparent.  b) Humor can be a good thing (when done tastefully) c) Just to be safe, don’t go using made up hashtags (especially ones about getting drunk…)

5) Ashton Kutcher – The most recent errant tweet came from one of Twitter’s most popular users. @AplusK hastily tweeted his opinion on the firing of Penn State coach Joe Paterno just a few weeks ago resulting in a massive uprising from the Twitterati.  Kutcher claims he didn’t know the back story surrounding the firing, he then deleted the tweet, and without formally apologizing he let the world know he wouldn’t be tweeting for a while and was considering handing his account over for management.  This sparked debate among industry folks as to whether celebrities should in-fact be tweeting themselves or whether it was better to have it managed by “the professionals.”

Lesson learned: Before expressing opinion on an issue publicly (whether it’s to 5 followers or 5 million) do your homework. Don’t comment on something you aren’t fully informed on.

What are some of your picks for the worst Twitter blunders in 2011?  Share with us in the comments!

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