Social media is essentially a super power: Using it the right way can revolutionize and empower people, whereas using the wrong way could cause irreversible catastrophic damage. Here are 5 examples out of the millions of people who should’ve just logged off of Facebook and Twitter.
5: Tinder, 2015 – Twitter
An article written by Nancy Jo Sales for Vanity fair started making small waves when it criticized the dating scene and ‘hook up culture’ perpetuated by the ease of dating apps, especially Tinder. Now, there are plenty of articles of similar content out there, but apparently this one really struck a chord with whoever was on the Tinder twitter account at the time — because it started to ramble and point to the article, insisting the data referenced there was false. What did it do? Drive more people, myself included, to actually read the article. Then we all went back to watch the Tinder account go on a crazy rant more than 30 tweets in length. What’s even stranger? A Tinder spokesperson actually backed up the rant!
Check out the highlights and more details here. And really, give Nancy’s article a read too — statistics or no, the story itself is super interesting!
4: AngelHack CEO, 2013 – Facebook
Back in 2013, then-CEO of tech startup AngelHack Greg Gopman, made a terrible decision to post his true feelings about poor people ‘overrunning’ San Francisco. Here’s a brief quote: “The difference is in other cosmopolitan cities, the lower part of society keep to themselves. They sell small trinkets, beg coyly, stay quiet, and generally stay out of your way. They realize it’s a privilege to be in the civilized part of town and view themselves as guests.” He apologized the next day, but his words had already been immortalized on the internet. People tore into him on Facebook and Twitter and articles like this one from Huffington post went up all over the web. Not surprisingly, Gopman stepped down from his position as CEO soon after.
3: Amy’s Baking, 2013 – Facebook
After appearing on Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, owners of Amy’s Baking Company received a lot of negative responses on Facebook. You’d think that by agreeing to go on the show, the owners would expect it to happen – especially since they were apparently dumped by Ramsey after being deemed too difficult to work with.
But instead of ignoring the bad press and allowing it to blow over, the owners attempted to defend themselves…and ended up showing their true colors instead in a ridiculous, God-swearing capslock-using pair of crazies who called out Reddit and Yelpers. And owner kept posting, and posting, and… just read it all here.
2: Chelsea Welch and Applebee’s, 2013 – Facebook
This was a PR nightmare — and worse, it went on for way too long. The story is that a pastor stiffed a waiter on their tip, leaving behind a snarky note saying they ‘gave God 10%’ on the receipt. Whatever, right? Well, Chelsea Welch took a photo of the receipt and uploaded to Reddit because of said comment. She immediately lost her job for violating the customer’s privacy.
The problem is that the Internet was on Chelsea’s side, screaming for Applebee’s to be boycotted, etc. until she was hired back. In addition to that, the official Applebee’s Facebook account had actually posted a note of praise listing a customer’s name two weeks prior, which technically violated the same rule Chelsea was fired for. Facebook users shared this picture left and right, even after Applebee’s deleted it, and called out the hypocrisy.
Then, in a horrifying twist, at 3AM that next day, whoever managed the Applebee’s Facebook account began responding to the 17,000 comments left on the original status regarding the situation. Not only that: They started tagging people to respond them, and even worse, deleting negative comments. The full story, including crazy screenshots, can be found here!
1: Peoiria Mayor, 2015 – Twitter
My favorite story of all time would have to be the story of @PeoiriaMayor, brought to my attention by a report from the Daily Show. The story goes that a man named Jon Daniel decided to make a parody account of Mayor Jim Ardis of Peoria, Illinois, tweeting out ridiculous things about drugs and strippers. In the account description, the twitter clearly read: Parody Account, and only had a small following (50) that consisted of the teen’s friends.
Upon learning of this account, Mayor Jim Ardis felt his reputation was being slandered, and went so far as to send police to the teen’s house, as well as hold a press conference…where he read the tweets out loud.
Since Jon Daniel didn’t technically break any laws, he turned around and filed a lawsuit against the city for the unwarranted police raid on his home and won $125,000. The account has since then been suspended by Twitter — but really, at the end of the day, who cares?!
As a side note, I’d like to congratulate most companies for getting a little smarter with their social media PR, considering most of these happened in 2013. I’d alos like to give a special shout-out to the story of a man that inspired me to write this article: Kanye West! I’ll just leave this screenshot below, but you can read the full story I read this morning. And please, if you have any other favorite meltdowns I might’ve missed, share them in the comments below!