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By B.L. Ochman

In the face of the Boston Marathon bombing, several brands, and one famous Tweeter, posted on social media in ways that can only be described as dumb. And dumber. But there are some lessons for brands.

Here are some examples:
Epicurious decided to use its Twitter feed to offer food suggestions to Bostonians.
Here are a couple of Tweets its more than 385,000 followers read:


Mr Media Training said it well: “Get your legs blown off by a terrorist? Try these scones! Lose a cherished friend? Maybe this bowl of breakfast energy can help!”

Epicurious soon deleted those Tweets and replaced them these dim Robo-Tweets:


Listen up Epicurious: your Tweets didn’t seem offensive. They were offensive. And plenty of people have these screen shots, so deleting them was not the answer.

Not Enchanting
Then there was Guy Kawasaki, who has 1.2 million Twitter followers. I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time. Brilliant man! But he blew it, big-time, by robo-tweeting.

Before you read the Tweets, let me point out that he’s the author of “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions”


Several people, including me, suggested that he stop robo-Tweeting.


Instead of apologizing, he got defensive:


Study in contrasts
Contrast that with the way Boston-based Rue La La handled its website and its daily email blast. They didn’t sell anything on the day after the attack.


What are the lessons for brands?

  • Monitor your brand 24/7

Every brand, and every famous social media superstar needs to monitor what’s being said about them 24/7. It used to be a joke among bloggers that you should post on the weekend if you want to do damage to a brand because they don’t monitor on weekends. The days when brands could allow an issue to fester for days are long gone. Minutes are dog years on the Internet.

  • For god’s sake, pay attnetion to the news!
  • If Guy Kawasaki was paying attention to the news he’d surely have had the sense to stop the robo-tweets immediately. As forEpicurious, they appear to be hopeless.

    • If you screw up, apologize.

    Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. It happens. Apologize. And mean it. People forgive a whole lot when they get a sincere apology.

    Hey, Anthony Weiner is looking good in the race for New York City Mayor according to the latest polls. And you all remember what the crotch shots he Tweeted, don’t you.

    He’s sorry, and he’s asking for another chance. And, god help us, he could end up being Mayor of New York.