Many thanks for checking back into our blog. On a personal level this week has been one to remember. Firstly, I’m proud to say that I became an uncle for the first time last Friday. This Tuesday Justin, Malcolm, and I (and Noah the dog) embarked on a hike near Hadrian’s Wall. An enjoyable time was had by all (particularly the dog) and it was a welcome relief to leave my phone behind in the car, albeit for only a few hours. Returning to the car, a friend had forwarded me an interesting message concerning a certain Michael Owen (greatly revered by the Toon Army for his dedication *cough* to the cause). It caused some amusement and I thought I’d like to share it with you to indicate how Twitter, or rather Twitter users, can turn against you – on a very public scale.
A couple of weeks ago dearest Michael Owen (@themichaelowen) with almost 1.5 million Twitter followers decided to host a Q + A session via the #askMOwen hashtag. Seemingly unbeknown to Michael Owen, his star has somewhat fallen since that famous night in France 14 years ago with questions such as:
‘Where do you get your tickets from for the match? I see you every week and they’re good seats in the crowd.’
‘I’m expecting a parcel on Thursday, would you be able to sit in for me while I’m out? I have Racing UK & ATR & my sofa’s leather?’
‘What is the plural of octopus??’
‘Have you been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault?’…
There were a number of other tasty questions posed (that wouldn’t be suitable for a blog that we would like you to share with your family) – I hasten to add that none of these questions were answered. Unfortunately, Michael Owen fell into a bit of a trap believing in his own hype, wrongfully assuming that followers have only positive things to say about him (as a brand).
There are numerous other examples of this to be found on the internet. For example, McDonalds set up the #McDStories hash tag to encourage customers to discuss positive experiences about their brand. Similar to our Michael, this backfired badly – with customers taking the Twitter waves to lambast the company.
Whether mistakes by either Michael Owen or McDonald’s have been caused by poor timing, or simply a lack of understanding, undoubtedly both are examples of uproars that have cast a negative light (albeit slightly amusing in the former example – yes I can be a bit silly). Remember, with Twitter the power (i.e. interpretation and response) is held by your followers – dependent upon the size of your business or your recent performance and actions, you may want to even consider if launching a hashtag discussion is appropriate.
Do you have any examples of any organisations (on a larger scale please) that have fallen foul of this approach? Feel free to comment below.