The Redner Group and Chrysler: Tweets heard ’round the world

June 16, 2011
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You can say whatever you want on Twitter — and sometimes that gets businesses in trouble.

Oops, they did it again. PR and social media professionals, it seems, have been getting a bad rap recently for tweeting what they shouldn’t.

In case you missed it, New Media Strategies, the company who handles the @ChryslerAutos Twitter account, came under fire when one of their employees accidentally tweeted from that account, saying, “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to [expletive] drive.”

The man who tweeted it lost his job and presumably the jobs of about 20 others when Chrysler announced it would not be renewing its contract with the agency for the rest of this year.

Now today I read an article about another agency, The Redner Group, that managed to sever its relationship with client 2K, a gaming company that just released its long-awaited “Duke Nukem Forever” game, after an inappropriate tweet. James Redner, an employee since 2009, accepted responsibility for the tweet and apologized numerous times, according to Ad Age. So what was the tweet?

“Too many went too far with their reviews. We r reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn’t based on today’s venom.”

You see, the “Duke Nukem Forever” game had been lambasted in reviews and in the press, and Redner had reached his boiling point. He told Ad Age: “ I used a public forum to voice my complaints and I know better. I poured my soul into the project and when I read the review I felt like a father trying to protect his son. In hindsight, I should have approached the writer directly.”

I’m sure there are many social media nonbelievers out there who are now shouting, “We told you so! This is exactly why we can’t trust these sites.” And they are right to an extent.

Whether you have someone handle your social media presence in house or whether you contract it out to another company, you are putting your brand and your reputation in their hands. Most of the time it works out, but as we see in these two cases, sometimes it doesn’t.

Twitter boasts 175 million users, and behemoth Facebook is poised to hit 700 million soon — so it’s hard to argue with those numbers. The truth of the matter is, if you want to be where your customers are and interact with them in a meaningful way, in many cases, communities like Facebook and Twitter are the best places to do it.

But it’s important to note that what you tweet is permanent — and still accessible even after you delete it. As the saying goes, “What happens in Vegas, stays on Google.” Be smart, think before you tweet, and you’ll do just fine in this space.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Mid & Northern Michigan. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

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