Hashtags have many uses on Twitter (and now Facebook). Among them is organizing a hashtag into an online town hall. Politicians have done it; Obama was the first President to run an online townhall using #AskObama; personally, I’ve done it twice, using #AskSchloss. Companies have also used hashtags in a variety of ways, including folding in organic and paid advertising campaigns. Sometimes, it goes terrible. For J.P. Morgan, this was one of those times.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal and Buzzfeed, among many, many others, J.P. Morgan tried to use #AskJPM to run a Q&A session. It exploded in their faces. Here’s the background. First, J.P. Morgan, as one of the “too big to fail” companies, has faced a slew of bad publicity lately, including an astounding $1 billion in fines levied against the company for their role in the “London Whale” financial disaster.
Using their Twitter account, J.P. Morgan tried to run a Q&A with their Vice Chairman, Jimmy Lee:
This…did not go well:
Seeing the writing on the wall, J.P. Morgan gave up:
Before anyone gets any ideas that using hashtags are bad ideas, remember, it’s not. This is a bit of a weird circumstance: J.P. Morgan has been on the receiving end of billions in taxpayer bailouts, yet continues to find itself on the bad end of the SEC and public opinion. I have said it before and will say it again: I don’t think Social Media makes people stupider. I just think it gives people a bigger audience in which they can be stupid. Related: Social Media will not make people hate you. It will just give people more of an opportunity to hate on you if you are already hated.
Rick Perry found this one out the hard way when he ran for President. In an effort to dive rightward after being accused of going soft on illegal immigrants, Perry launched this anti-gay screed:
However, the geniuses running Perry’s campaign forgot to disable the button that allows users to like or dislike a video, and within three days, the video earned over 750,000 dislikes. Ouch.
The lesson here isn’t a Social Media one, but a general one. Don’t think that you can escape a negative reputation in via Twitter.