By B.L. Ochman
The other day, the most Not Safe for Work Tweet imaginable appeared in US Airways’ Twitter stream, setting off a wild social media brouhaha. Today, the airline announced that it will not fire the member of its social media staff who accidentally included the XXX image in a Tweet, according to Ad Age
The US Airways decision is in sharp contrast to the way Home Depot and others have handled rogue Tweets by staffers and agencies. When a racist Tweet appeared in Home Depot’s stream and an F-bomb Tweet ran in Chrysler’s feed, both blamed – and fired – outside agencies when offensive Tweets appeared in their streams.
And others have blamed – and fired – interns, including the Utah Senate, Bay area Fox affiliate KTVU and many more.
Lessons for brands: in real-time media, mistakes will happen, at least as long as human beings are involved. The best way for brands to handle issues like these:
– apologize immediately
– investigate before acting
– explain what happened
– announce how you will handle the situation
– move forward
A fake Twitter account, US Airways PR Stream, sprung up immediately and posted Tweets including my favorite, below. Fortunately, they were wrong.
@LynleyWilliams It's not so bad now that we've found an intern willing to take the fall.
— US AIRWAYS (@USAirwaysPRteam) April 15, 2014