2013: The Year Of Social Media Gone Wrong
Ah, 2013 was a good year. It was the year contemporary enough to add ‘Amazeballs’ to the dictionary, prickly enough to shut down the American government for a few weeks, and audacious enough to televise Miley Cyrus and all her various twerking manifestations. And as expected, social media had a field day with all 2013 has brought forth, both good and bad. As the year comes to a close, we start with the very worst. Stay tuned, because no one was spared. Straight down the line, it seems like most industries suffered the wrath of a damning social media screwup this year. We’ll showcase the top 10 of the most blundering social media snafus of the year:
1. Carlos Danger’s Anthony Weiner’s Weiner All Over Twitter: Boy, this guy really, really sucks at Twitter. Not only was he caught once and resigned as congressman in 2011, but he was caught again in 2013, which led to his withdrawal as a candidate in the NYC mayoral race. Good Days Marketing seized the opportunity and set up The Weiner Truck, complete with an opportunity for fans to tweet at Anthony Weiner for a free hot dog. Come on guy, get it together.
2. Amy’s Baking Company vs. The World: It started innocently enough. Samy and Amy Bouzaglo of Amy’s Baking Company recruited Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares to help overhaul their crumbling company. But due to Samy and Amy’s combative resistance to any change Gordon offered, this episode marks the first time in the series where a restaurant fails to complete its culinary shakeup. But here’s where things really get weird. Not only did Samy and Amy decline to acknowledge the error of their ways, but they decided to take to Facebook to air their grievances. And by airing their grievances, we mean they had a massive public meltdown and proceeded to insult anyone/everyone who dared to post on their Facebook page. Finally, they kinda sorta retracted their statements by claiming their social media accounts had been hacked (no, they hadn’t.) For your viewing pleasure, you can view the whole Kitchen Nightmares episode here and check out the Facebook debacle here. Word of advice: If you want to go viral, this is not the way to do it.
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3. Spearmint Rhino Strip Club’s Ultimate No-No: For those of you who don’t know, Spearmint Rhino is a worldwide chain specializing in, ahem, gentlemen who enjoy women who dance. The Melbourne branch of the brand decided to have a little fun with its Facebook page by posting a baby picture of one of its dancers and invited their fans to guess which dancer it is. Because you know, that’s exactly the kind of thing you want to see before you go to a strip club. Kind of cute, but not really. But what really got Spearmint Rhino Melbourne into trouble? A not-so-hidden-very-obvious-in-your-face timestamp which revealed the young stripper in question was only 14-years-old. No bueno, Spearmint. No bueno.
4. Bank of America’s Robots Are The Friendliest Ever: Things haven’t been going too well for our country’s financial institutions. The gap between the rich and poor grows larger every day, people are angry about losing their homes, and it seems like there’s no end in sight. So when New Jersey father Mark Hamilton took to the streets to write an anti-foreclosure message with chalk in front of a Manhattan Bank of America, he was shooed away by the cops. Fine. So he took to Twitter to reach out to Bank of America directly. Humans tweet, right? Wrong. Hamilton was met by Bank of America’s army of overly friendly robots who just didn’t have a clue. This might have been just a bump in the road for Bank of America; however, it not only revealed their total lack of social media understanding, but angry activists insisted it also confirmed their lack of compassion.
5. Chipotle Faked Own Twitter Hack, Confuses Public: This might be the weirdest (or the most genius) publicity stunt we’ve seen in a long time. It all started when Jeep and Burger King’s Twitter accounts were legitimately hacked. Soon, Chipotle figured these disruptive and stressful hacks had actually resulted in thousands of new followers for each brand. Chipotle decided to jump on the hacking bandwagon by tweeting senseless updates to its Twitter account. Totally bizarre, but it worked. According to Chipotle representative Chris Arnold, the stunt pulled in more than 4,000 followers the day of the faux-hack, compared to its usual rate of 250 new followers per day. But still, faking your own hack for more followers and retweets? Definitely a fail.
6. Geraldo Rivera, No One Needs To See That: Geraldo Rivera jumped on the selfie bandwagon with the tweet that should have never happened. In it, the septuagenarian proudly shows off his fragile yet leathery body, claiming that 70 is the new 50 while wearing rose colored glasses and a loosely draped white towel to cover his bits. Rivera blames his liquid courage on a few shots of tequila, but the selfie continued to haunt him. Rivera was later booted as a panel speaker at Duquesne University because the selfie was “inconsistent” with the school’s Catholic values. This is truly the selfie that won’t go away, and all in all, a bad move for this daring senior citizen.
7. Nokia New Zealand Loses Control: Pissed off employee? Hacked account? Or did we get a rare glimpse of what Nokia New Zealand really thinks about its Twitter followers? Whatever the case may be, we’re sure the head of Nokia’s social media account was not too happy when this tweet. Nokia was quick to remove the tweet and issued an official apology a few minutes later, but the damage had already been done.
8. Kmart Forgets How To Speak Proper English: This year, people were especially angry with big corporations who decided to stay open during the Thanksgiving holiday. But the Kmart team apparently didn’t get the memo and not only responded to angry consumers’ tweets, but they did so with over 100 responses that mimicked unintelligible English. A good rule for Twitter is to respond to consumer complaints as quickly as you can, but maybe the Kmart social media team was in such a hurry that they forgot how to speak proper English.
9. Kenneth Cole – Warmongering Fashionista?: Kenneth Cole just doesn’t know when to quit. As you might recall, Kenneth Cole first sent the interwebs into a tizzy in 2011 when he tried to tie the protests in Egypt to his new spring collection. Now, the footwear designer was at it again with a new low-brow tweet in which he uses the term “boots on the ground,” the phrase used by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry with regards to sending ground troops to quell the conflict in Syria, to slinging his footwear collection. The Twitter community didn’t dig it back in 2011, and they aren’t into it now.
10. Jaden Smith Speaks In Code: We understand that if you’re rich, famous, and 15-years-old, that might give you free reign to say whatever the hell you want on Twitter. A prime example would be the young Jaden Smith, heir to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air throne. His Twitter feed is so ridiculously sullied with nonsensical jibber-jabber that one has to wonder if Jaden is actually a child-genius with the ability to speak to otherworldly beings in philosophizing code. If that’s the case, then keep on keepin’ on, young Jaden.
But he crosses the line when he tweets potentially damaging messages like the one below. At such a young age, we’re sure (and hope!) that the majority of his followers are younger with impressionable minds. With such a large following, Jaden should be using this platform for good, instead of whatever he’s using it for now.
And thus concludes our roundup of the year’s most entertaining social media fails. As we went through the list of all the disasters of the year, we laughed, we gasped, but most importantly, we learned some very important lessons.
Come away from this blog post with these three tips:
- Social media is meant to be social. Do away with the automated robots.
- Don’t get drunk and use Twitter. Ever.
- When in doubt, don’t post it. Wait a day to see if it’s still as clever/funny/edgy as it was when you first thought of it.
Here’s to 2014!