Anthony Noto Tweet

Twitter Fail from Twitter CFO: Chief Financial Officer accidentally tweets about purchasing another company

This is the first time I can remember the a C-Level Twitter staffer making a major Twitter fail, but here we are!

Anthony Noto joined Twitter in July as the company’s Chief Financial Officer.  Obviously, he is involved in a variety of major Twitter projects, including acquisitions.  And, while discussing one of those acquisitions, Noto tweeted this:

Anthony Noto TweetWhoops.  Noto deleted the tweet but it was captured before it could be removed, leading to national news.  There were many reactions to this, including, hilariously, from Anthony Weiner, who may have the world’s most famous accidental public tweet:

Noto has not commented on the tweet, nor has anyone from Twitter, but that obviously hasn’t stopped other news organizations and blogs from discussing who Twitter may be looking to buy.

The lesson here: don’t use Twitter for direct messaging confidential information.  I try to avoid DMs in general – I think Email or texting is a better way to communication, particularly given that the 140 character limit still applies.  As Noto and Weiner have both shown us, confusing a Direct Message with a public tweet can have disastrous consequences.

News Channel Nine Ferguson Fail

Anatomy of a Fail: News Channel Nine, Dancing With the Stars and Ferguson

News Channel Nine is an ABC news channel in Tennessee.  Last night, they became nationally known, and not for good reasons.  Here is an Anatomy of a Fail for what they did, and it was a doozy.

The Fail

On Monday night, the Ferguson indictment decision was announced.  Every network cut into their previously schedule broadcasting to air the decision.  At that point, the genius who ran News Channel Nine’s social media decided this was a good idea:

News Channel Nine Ferguson Fail

Was Ron Burgundy the producer?

The Reaction

Not good.  Not good:

The Response – The Good-ish

News Channel Nine launched into a series of apologies.  First, they sent out a generic apology:

They then deleted the tweet, and acknowledged the deletion (totally appropriate)

Then they started apologizing to people en mass, individually:

News Channel Nine Apologies

The Response: The Bad

Individualized apologies are a dicey business in a situation like this – DiGiorno tried it after their #WhyIStayed disaster and it went reasonably well, but you can screw this up pretty easily.

And that’s exactly where things went downhill for News Channel Nine.  First, they got lazy and began to copy and paste identical apologies:

News Channel Nine Same Apology

This, of course, defeats the purpose of individual apologies.

The Response: The Terrible

Responses started getting flippant.  First, they started replying with frowny faces:

News Channel Nine Smiley

Nothing says, “I understand the gravity of the situation” quite like a frowny face.

Then, MSNBC reporter Dave Weigel got in on the act:

News Channel Nine responded with something along the lines of, “Not you too ahh geez!”  I don’t have exactly what they said because they deleted the tweet, but I’ll get there.  Anyway, here’s where I jumped in and started yelling at them:

To my extreme disbelief, they responded by saying that they “were new” at Twitter.  I responded like this:

They didn’t respond from there.

At one point, it got so bad that they tried to blame an intern:

News Channel Nine Intern

The Deletions

Many of the tweets they sent out yesterday – including their tweets with me and Dave Weigel – have been deleted.  There was no note about that one.

The Verdict

The original fail was bad enough, but this was totally the wrong tone.  When you apologize, you do so with humility.  You don’t get cute.  You don’t use funny hashtags.  You don’t tweet things like “ahh geez” to Dave Weigel.  Doing so makes you seem insincere.  It was totally the wrong tone and a terrible way to act.

What do you think?  Let me know in the comments!

How not to handle trolls: The Geraldo Rivera edition

News anchor and former talk show host Geraldo Rivera is no stranger to doing stupid things on social media:

Geraldo Selfie

Above: Someone who should not take selfies.

He managed to find something new and strange to do, however.  Geraldo has a Facebook page with nearly 35,000 likes.  Last Thursday, Rivera posted a Facebook note in support of President Obama’s immigration executive order:

Geraldo Note on ImmigrationGeraldo got a huge amount of interaction with this note.  Also, as you can probably imagine, some of the comments were less than kind.  Here are some of the lowlights, which included racially tinged comments, vulgarity, and attacks on Rivera’s ethnicity:

Rivera Comments5 Rivera Comments4 Rivera Comments3 Rivera Comments2 Rivera Comments1

These comments, of course, are disgusting examples of internet trolling.  As we have previously noted, these people are sick and in need of real help.  Indeed, the LAST thing you give them is attention or any sort of acknowledgement that they got under your skin.  Unfortunately, Rivera decided to give them the attention they so crave:

Geraldo calls commenters little pieces of shit

And, as you can imagine, that didn’t go well:

Response to Geraldo2 Response to Geraldo1

Are many of the the attacks on Geraldo fair? Of course not.  They are insane, despicable, and examples of the worst of the internet.  But Geraldo, who has been in this business for decades, should know better.  Maybe he was just trying to get publicity by saying something shocking, because I have to assume that someone who has been at this for as long as Geraldo has would have heard worse and developed a thicker skin than this.

The lesson for elected officials is easy: Never, ever respond like Geraldo did.  Delete and block trolls who make disgusting comments, while calmly engaging with those who disagree in a respectful manner.  To respond like this brings you down to their level, makes you look like a fool and further insights those you are supposedly trying to shut up.

County GOP Chair in Minnesota: “Muslims are terrorists. They don’t belong in this country.”

File this one under C for Crazy.

The Chair of the Big Stone County GOP in Minnesota is Jack Whitley.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Whitley isn’t the Chair for long, after going on the Facebook screed below:

Big Stone County Republican ChairOh dear.

By the way, that wasn’t the only example of Mr. Whitley’s particular brand of crazy.  Other examples can be found on the Bluestem Prairie, which first captured the story.  Here’s another winner:

Jack Whitley Hates Muslims

Unsurprisingly, the remarks were condemned by the Chair of the Minnesota State GOP, Keith Downey:

I condemn the outrageous comments posted on Mr. Whitley’s Facebook page.  They could not be further from the Republican Party’s beliefs, nor more contrary to the efforts we have undertaken to include Muslim Americans, and every American, in our Party.

Now, the standard question: Did Mr. Whitley apologize, or do the double down?

The double down.  After the initial controversy, he wrote:

I will not apologize and I will not compromise. They either need to repent except [sic] Jesus Chist [sic] or leave the country … If you want to consider this a call to arms, then so be it.

In an interview with the Minnesota StarTribune, Whitley added that, ”

“I have no desire to hold hands and play pattycake with these people.  It’s pointless. They don’t understand peace…They understand one thing, and that’s aggressive force.”

However, it has since been noted by Bluestream Prairie that Whitley deleted his profile.  I went looking and couldn’t find it either, so that would certainly seem to be the case.  So, Mr. Whitley is clearly very brave…until the heat gets to hot to handle.  What a surprise.

This guy is a winner.

Amy Strickland Twitter

School District Administrator: Black men dating white women is “every father’s nightmare”

A bizarre and offensive retweet has gotten a school district administrator in Norfolk, Virgini, into quite a bit of trouble.

Here’s what happened.  Last June, the Assistant Principal of Booker T. Washington High School, Amy Strickland, retweeted this picture:

Amy Strickland Twitter

If you can’t see the Twitter, it list “every white girl’s father’s worst nightmare” and features black men with white girls in prom gear.  The tweet is obviously offensive, and even more so for a community like Norfolk, which is almost 43% African-American.  Strickland is white. Unsurprisingly, her Twitter account has been deleted.

The tweet was sent almost six months ago but is only gaining national attention now.  Students in the district were obviously upset.  Said one, “I could have been any one of the boys in the picture…And I really don’t see myself, like I said earlier, as anyone’s worst nightmare.”  Many students protested the tweet by walking out of school.

The School District seemed unaware of the tweet when first contacted by reporters, but said they would look into the matter.  As I type this, no one from the school or from the district has made a statement, saying that they can’t do so because it is a personnel matter.

This was an absurdly stupid tweet under any circumstances, even forgetting for a moment that it was made in a heavily African-American community.  No one in any position of power (or anyone, really) should send out a tweet like that.  I have to think that major disciplinary actions are coming for Strickland, and wouldn’t be surprised to hear if she is no longer employed.  There’s just no explanation here.

Enjoy the blog?  Then make sure to buy the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avert a Career-Ending Mistake is now available for purchase on your Kindle!


Republicans Use Twitter to potentially Violate Election Law

CNN Report: Republicans & their allies use Twitter to skirt campaign finance laws

Republicans Use Twitter to potentially Violate Election Law
A CNN report has highlighted an astounding, fascinating and depressing new use of Twitter: to skirt election law that prohibits campaigns from coordinating directly with outside groups.

Election law prohibits direct coordinating between outside spending groups and SuperPACs with campaigns.  Technically, however, there is nothing that stops information from being shared in public – like on Twitter.  And that appears to be exactly what happened: tweets with internal polling information were sent out.  They were
“hidden in plain sight,” as profile was public, but only a few people had access to the accounts, which no one could have found otherwise. Among those who had access: two outside groups (American Crossroads and American Action Network) and the National Republican Campaign Committee.  None of those groups would comment for the CNN story, and the Twitter accounts in question were deleted shortly after CNN first looked into them (that was absurdly stupid – it pretty much served as an admission of guilt, and whoever deleted the Twitter accounts had to know that the screen shots were out there).

The tweets appear to be in gibberish listing the state, poll results and Congressional district, but no matching data to show what questions the poll was answering.  This would imply that coordination was necessary in order to understand the data, and that, of course, would be a violation of campaign finance rules.  Still, the entire incident underscores the need for laws to be updated for social media.

I think the entire issue was best summed up in a tweet by the Vice Chair of the FEC, Ann Ravel:

As noted by the Christian Science Monitor, this isn’t the first time that issues like this have been raised this election cycle:

In April, Republicans accused Democrats of attempting to “subvert campaign finance laws” when the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s official Twitter accounts posted messages that Democratic super PACs later incorporated into their ads, CNN reported.

As far as I am concerned, this is a clear violation of the spirit of the law: outside coordination is occurring. If coordination was required to understand the polling data, how could anyone not argue that campaign coordination occurred, thus violating the law?  This seems like a pretty clear violation to me.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time this issue has occurred – and its won’t be the last.  Loopholes in the law will always exist, and Citizens United drove a truck through many of the meager separations that still exist.

And, don’t forget, you can now buy my book: Tweets & Consequences:60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avert a Career-Ending Mistake

Dave and Busters Racist Taco Tweet

Anatomy of a Fail: Dave & Busters and the no good, very bad tweet

As you have probably noticed, this blog tends to go broader than just political screw ups when it comes to social media.  I’m gonna categorize those disasters from now on by providing an in-depth examination of what happened, called Anatomy of a Fail.  The fails will be examined in a similar structure to my book (did you know I wrote a book called Tweets and Consequences that you can by on Amazon…just in case you hadn’t heard……….).

So, here’s our first Anatomy of a Fail, courtesy of Dave & Busters.

The Fail:

This occurred at 1:01pm, EST on November 18, 2014.  The tweet in question had some very clear racial undertones:

Dave and Busters Racist Taco Tweet

The tweet was deleted 40 minutes later.

The Reaction:

Unsurprisingly, the tweet was not well received:

A quick news search reveals dozens of stories, including on some national outlets like CNBC.

The Apology:

This came at 2:15, almost an hour and a half after the initial fail, while others let it go.

The reaction to the apology:  Many took shots at D&B for their inability to use proper grammar:

The stock market reaction:

Check out this chart of Dave & Buster’s stock today:

Dave & Busters Stock

See that dip? It occured a little before 2:00pm – just after the screw-up first went public.  I can’t say with 100% certainty, but I’d bet that the errand tweet is what caused D&B’s stock price to drop.  It was off 2.7% today, while the NASDAQ was up .67%.

Enjoy the blog?  Then make sure to buy the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avert a Career-Ending Mistake is now available for purchase on your Kindle!