Social Media

The Winner of the 2013 BuzzWell PR “Did I Do That?” Social Media Awards is…

And now, the moment we’ve all
Been waiting for. The winner of the 2013 BuzzWell PR “Did I Do That?” Social Media Awards.

The top social faux pas of the year should be no surprise. Anyone who frequents social media has heard of this one. Yet, every time I think about it my mind is blown, again and again. This tweet was so egregious and offensive that when I first heard about it I was certain that it was a prank. That this poor person had their account hacked and was thrust into spotlight in the most unfortunate of ways.

But, oh, how I underestimated the power of sheer stupidity. While I do know that we are all prone to lapses in judgement from time to time, some more than others, what I can’t come to terms with is the fact that this person was a PR Exec!!

So without further ado… Justine Sacco, you are the winner of the 2013 “Did I Do That?” Social Media Awards for this literally unexplainable tweet:


Right… Hopefully you make smarter decisions in 2014, Justine! After all, the New Year is a time to start over and do better, for all of us!

Social Media

“Did I Do That?” Social Media Awards #2 – Justin Bieber’s Retirement Tweet

You might be a bit surprised by this pick. Maybe you’d expect something like a politicians misrouted sext to grab the runner up spot. Or, perhaps, another snafu by a corporate social media team. But I couldn’t resist. I just couldn’t. And not because any mention of the Biebs is an immediate boost in SEO either. No, this took the number two spot due to the overt shamelessness behind it. Here’s the Tweet:


At the time of this post the tweet had received well over 300k retweets and was trending heavily throughout the interwebs. Obviously, Bieber is not retiring. So what’s with the tweet? Maybe we can credit it to teenage angst, or the smothering affects of the paparazzi. Yes, life for Justin must be hard. But the timing is just a bit fishy to me.

Justin and his team, brilliant as they are, have been heavily promoting his new movie on a variety of different platforms including Twitter. It just strikes me as too much of a coincidence that this tweet came when it did. For someone who has close to 50 million Twitter followers and is a walking hashtag, this just seemed like an unnecessary, shameless PR stunt, which for Bieber is as easy as sending out a simple, contrived tweet.

So, Justin, here is yet another plug for you as you land in the number two spot of the “Did I Do That?” Social Media Awards.

…Can’t wait to see the movie 🙂

Social Media

“Did I Do That?” Social Media Awards #3 – JP Morgan’s #askJPM

One of the first things you need to do as a PR pro when working for a client, any client, is to know them IN an OUT. In: what type of organization are they? How do they operate? What are their strengths, weaknesses? Out: how is the organization that you are being paid to represent publicly perceived publicly? Only after understanding the two sides can you create and execute successful Public Relations campaigns.

Now, it doesn’t take an insider to know how JPM is looked at from the outside. As a matter of fact JPM has been one of the unfortunate poster children for the big, bad, morally hazardous Wall Street cronies. This has been in the news since 2008. All over the news in fact. It’s widely known that the bank is looking at a $13 billion settlement over its underwriting of billions of dollars in bad mortgage backed securities in the lead up to the housing bust.

So, suffice to say, public perception is pretty poor. As a PR pro working for JPM your job is to do whatever it takes to manage that and turn it around – a daunting task indeed.

But JPM’s twitter team is doing themselves no favors. On November 13 they issued the following tweet:


One of my favorite responses was from someone identified as Amy Hunter: “At what number of Billions of Dollars will it no longer be profitable to run your criminal enterprise #ask JPM.” Soon after, the event was canceled.

Clearly, the people or persons behind this tweet lost a handle on the public’s perception of them and opened themselves up to a snafu that was very much preventable. Now I may be partial since I’ve worked with the worlds biggest financial institutions for years, but this to me is inexcusable in its fundamental lack of understanding of PR.

So, JPM, you come in the 3rd spot for the BuzzWell PR “Did I Do That?” Social Media Awards.


“Did I Do That?” Social Media Awards #4 – RNC’s Rosa Parks Tweet

Another half-baked tweet comes in on the countdown, reminding us to be really, reallly sure before clicking send and thrusting our social media posts into the public eye.

While the Republican National Committee was behind this boneheaded post, the ignorance within is undoubtedly bipartisan. On December 2, the RNC issued the following post:


With a history of being accused of disingenuous behavior and lip service to appeal to minority voters you think the GOP would be more careful. To their credit, they did issue this quick response to their gaffe: “Previous tweet should have read ‘Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in fighting to end racism.”

However, we’re giving awards for the posts that failed, not the apologies that followed. So, for that reason, the RNC clocks in in 4th place for the BuzzWell PR “Did I Do That?” Social Media Awards. Well done, RNC, well done.


“Did I Do That?” Social Media Awards #5 – Tesco’s “Hit the hay” Tweet

So, you’re Britain’s biggest food supplier and you’ve just been outed for selling beef burgers that contain horse meat – lots of them. This is where the millions of dollars you spend a year on communications pays off, right? This is when your seasoned PR team swarms into action – pagers buzz (yes some people still use them), phones wake weary senior flak in the middle of the night and the crisis strategy you’ve painstakingly planned  throughout the years kicks in. Unfortunately for Tesco, their crisis plan barely got out of the gate before tripping over itself.

When the SHTF and an issue threatens to hurt a person or company’s reputation, one of the first things you do is notify those who need to know. CEO – obviously. Legal Counsel – definitely. Communications team, who if they were good, may have identified the crisis first – of course! How about those who tweet to the world on behalf of your company – DUH! Well something seems to have been lost in translation, because days – yes – DAYS after the crisis broke, the Tesco Twitter team issued the following mind boggling Tweet:tesco1

Shortly after issuing the foot-in-mouth post, hundreds of angry followers and customers responded – blasting and mocking the brand – further exacerbating the already damaging crisis. Tesco replied with an apology and said that the Tweet had been planned before they learned they were slinging horse patties. Poor excuse rife with flaws in itself. But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and blame it, not on a pitiful display of professional communications, rather, a lack of  a grasp on idioms and their meanings. A little bit more excusable, maybe … but, yeah, a grasp of the English language is also a good skill to seek out when appointing someone to Tweet to the world on behalf of your multi-billion dollar organization.

Congrats, Tesco, you are the 5th runner up for this year’s “Did I Do That?” Social Media Awards!


First Annual BuzzWell “Did I do That?” Social Media Awards

UrkelWhat better way to kickoff a new blog then with an awards ceremony? Exactly, there isn’t one. So here we go…

The days leading up to the New Year are full of reflection. We look back on what we did, what we didn’t do and also what we did that we wish we hadn’t. Luckily, for most of us, our more regrettable moments weren’t thrust in front of the public eye for the world to revel in our misfortunes. However, for some unlucky few, social media broadcasts there missteps for the world to see. So who are we not to jump on the bandwagon and further dissect these social media faux pas and lapses in judgement? In the five days leading up to New Years we will count down the Top 5 “Did I do That?” moments for 2013. The countdown starts tomorrow so stay tuned!

In the meantime, it’s good to be here, blogosphere! Looking forward to sharing our thoughts, musings and perspectives on all things communications – with the occasional tangential rant – in 2014 and beyond!