This Week in Social Media Fail
November 14, 2014
November 14, 2014
It’s always a dangerous game to make fun of a colleague’s shortcomings and failures. When I worked in journalism, my colleagues and I were always hesitant to crow about an absurd correction in a competing publication, lest karma smite us. It’s a policy I generally stick with in my new life as a social media professional.
But this week featured so many social media fails (that’s “huge mistakes” in Internet shorthand) that they had to be addressed.
Automated Tweet Fail of the Week: This dishonor goes to the New England Patriots, who elected to celebrate being the first NFL team with one million Twitter followers by creating personalized digital jerseys with a user’s Twitter handle. A great strategy to boost engagement… until the automated program pulled a Twitter handle containing a racial epithet. The team has since apologized, blaming a filtering program for the mistake.
Meme Fail of the Week: Memes! Kids love memes. But kids love memes because they’ve come from the actual grassroots of the internet. It’s always a risky strategy when an established persona, brand, or organization tries it. The social media team for comedian Bill Cosby learned this the hard way when it asked Twitter users to “meme” the comedian. While the team was likely expecting a million jokes about pudding pops, instead activists used the opportunity to make sexual assault allegations against Cosby go viral. Now the women who’ve accused Cosby of assault are being asked to share their story with major publications like the Washington Post.
Twitter Chat Fail of the Week: Dr. Mehmet Oz has had a rough year. He’s been hauled before the U.S. Senate to testify about weight loss claims he’s made on his wildly popular TV show. Comedy shows had a field day with his testimony. After being quiet for a few months, why not resurface with a quiet Twitter chat? For the same reason Bill Cosby’s team shouldn’t have called for an open season on captioning images of the comedian—the Internet isn’t going to play nice with someone with a troubled past.