COM0011 – Blog Post # 6 – Social Media Fails

One of the main points we have learnt in this course is the value of personal branding, and the importance of having a strategy to manage your online presence.  This applies not only to oneself personally, but also to organizations.  Many corporations spend millions of dollars on their marketing and branding and now with many turning to Social Media to promote themselves.  But what happens when something goes wrong?  Inadvertently (or perhaps not so inadvertently) posting something offensive or insensitive can have a huge negative impact on a company that will haunt them no matter how quickly the post is removed.

Take for example the clothing company American Apparel.  In 2014 they posted an image to their Tumblr account in celebration of the Fourth of July, with the tags #smoke and #clouds.  The image..


Now most would recognize this as the image of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster – the space shuttle that exploded shortly after take off killing everyone on board, while the world watched live.  The company claimed it was an error made by an employee who was born after the disaster had occurred, and wasn’t aware of what this picture represented.

Another pitfall for corporations is when something gets posted on a social media account by an employee, when the post was meant for their own personal feeds.  Take for example the Chrysler employee who posted this..



And finally the DiGiorno pizza company that unknowingly used a hashtag that was trending at the time – without fully understanding what the hashtag referred to.  The tag was #WhyIStayed and began trending after the video of Ray Rice punching his wife in an elevator .  Many of the messages using #WhyIStayed were from women telling why they chose to stay in an abusive relationship.   So in an effort to take advantage of the momentum of the tag, DiGiorno posted this…


So what’s the lesson here.  Firstly, make sure you know the background of what you are posting.  Check and double check the source of the information.  Be informed!

And as many can attest – making an error on social media, despite whatever apology may follow, it will never be erased.  What is posted on the internet is there forever, so you best be sure check to be sure you want it out there forever!


4 thoughts on “COM0011 – Blog Post # 6 – Social Media Fails

  1. Great read. In a related event- check your facts/sources. Like when Trump retweeted a chart where all the black/white deaths / murders in the US where depicted. Only, the numbers were wrong, and the chart came from a white supremacist account. Ooops!

  2. I know whenever I’m about to make a post on IG or if I’m making a status on Facebook, I get anxious. I become overly aware of my spelling or grammar and often ask whoever I’m around if the caption sounds right or if that is really how you spell ‘compilation.’ I know not everyone cares as much as I do when posting online, but I would hope companies would be more aware. I agree with you that many of these social media fails could have been avoided, but lets not forget the many Urban Outfitters ‘fails’:
    I remember when they had their ‘eat less’ shirt available online. That was big news and a lot of people were not impressed and offended because of it. They’ve had multiple occasions where they have promoted offensive and degrading clothing, probably in hopes of it coming off as humorous. They can release as many apologies or excuses as they want, but people will still remember them as a company which continuously puts out offensive and distasteful clothing. One would think that after maybe 2 or 3 incidents they would have a better handle on this type of thing, but apparently not.

  3. Undoubtedly, everything gets amplified through social media. A simple mistake can lead to a company’s disaster or ruin someone’s life in a matter of hours. Being informed and being careful is crucial when posting on social media.

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