Dealing with social media mishaps

chrysler tweet

When you tweet something about work that you shouldn’t have, or from the wrong account and it gets picked up, you want the ground to swallow you up. It’s awful, and the chronicles of social media crises are full of heads on pikestaffs.

But what feels like a full-on social media crisis at the time, often turns out to be a storm in a teacup a few days later, with only a few red faces to show for it. It’s one of the ‘mishap’ scenarios described in a great piece of guidance from New Zealand (hat tip: Craig Thomler) which they deem the more easily fixable.

In a training course on Monday, we gave participants three ‘crisis’ scenarios, and got them to share what their handling strategy would be for each. The one that sparked the most debate was a version of this one:

A junior communications officer has been tweeting live coverage of a ceremony taking place, at which national VIPs are present, including a Cabinet Minister and senior managers. During the sombre event, thinking they are tweeting from a personal account, the officer accidentally tweets a picture along with the comment “stick a bomb under the lot of them and there’ll be #nomorecuts”, which is widely retweeted.

Assuming you’re responsible for the channel, let me know in the comments or by Twitter (checking you’re logged into the right account first) what you would do:

  1. immediately?
  2. in the following few days?

For extra credit, how would your response differ if the account in question was the individual’s own work-related account (where they say in their bio or username where they work), rather than the organisation’s corporate channel?

Not sure there’s a right answer, but I’ll post an update with my thoughts tomorrow.

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