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When Social Media Goes Wrong


Social media offers both a wealth of opportunities and an inexhaustible number of pitfalls that the unseasoned and inattentive social media manager or entrepreneur can slip and fall into. Failing to understand the context of a conversation can lead you directly into the unenviable position that DiGiorno Pizza found itself in yesterday when it casually uses the hash-tag #WhyIStayed to sell pizza. So, what was so wrong with it? In short, the hash-tag in question was being used to earnestly discuss the problem of domestic violence.

Social Faux Pas

Despite offering a “million apologies” there’s not much DiGiorno can do to remove the sour taste it’s now left in the mouths of potentially millions of customers who may be turning to Tombstone frozen pizza unless and until they too show brazen insensitivity about clubbing baby harp seals or something equally atrocious. As  Roz O’Hearn, a spokeswoman for Nestle, which owns DiGiorno, said in a statement to The Huffington Post, “This tweet was a mistake, quickly realized as such and deleted seconds later.”

How Can You Avoid a Similar Fate?

Despite the apparent complexity of social media it would have been relatively easy for whoever is in charge of DiGiorno’s Twitter account to have seen how wildly inappropriate it would be to plug their pizza brand unbidden in the midst of a conversation about domestic violence. All they had to do was take a moment to read some of the tweets using the hash-tag or, if that was to hard, just do a Google search using the hash tag to find out what all the fuss is about. I know I have personally had to refrain from entering the fray when a hash-tag I was unfamiliar with was trending because I simply couldn’t figure out the context. Besides, if you don’t know who is using a tag or why a term is tending in the first place why would you think it was a good idea to associate your brand’s name with it?

In the end, common sense and a little initiative could have saved DiGiorno a lot of embarrassment and, most likely, saved someone’s career.


About Michael Rickicki

I am a freelance writer, translator, social media manager and co-owner of a mid-sized automotive accessories manufacturer and retailer in Brooklyn.

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