Bill Cosby proves, again, that using a hashtag can be bad for you

First, the background.  Comedian Hannibal Buress was performing a set in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, and during the set, he reminded his audience that Bill Cosby has had multiple women launch rape accusations against him.  Buress was correct: 13 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault.

Fast forward to Monday.  Bill Cosby, who has a Twitter account, came up with this terrible idea:

Bill Cosby Meme

Clearly, Cosby (or whoever runs his Twitter account) isn’t a reader of this blog, because if he was, he would have known that this was a very bad idea.  Controversial elected officials, as well as numerous major businesses, have had tremendously negative experiences with crowdsourced hashtags like this, and given the recent resurfacing of the rape allegations against Cosby, he NEVER should have sent out this tweet.

But he did.  And then this happened:

Looking at #CosbyMeme reveals plenty more tweets like this.  Of course the story has gone viral and is now making international news.  By the way, the original tweet has been deleted.

The lesson for elected officials – or anyone who does social media, really – is that, if you have a signifigant negative sentiment and try to hold a hashtag event, it’s going to be a disaster.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t have an open hashtag event, but it does mean you have to be prepared for it (something Cosby wasn’t, since he deleted the tweet).  By be prepared, I mean a few things:

  • Have responses ready to go when the tweets turn negative on you.
  • Alert your friends and supporters so that they can tweet positive things about you or your brand.
  • Acknowledge that the attacks will come and be prepared to deal with them.

Clearly, Cosby was ready for none of these things.  This was a disaster.  Cosby’s social media manager has a ton of egg – or pudding – on their face.

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