Disastrous social media use – and the winner is…

We are certain that towards the end of the year when the geeky social media types look at what’s happened in the socialsphere over the last 12 months to determine the best and worst of social media, the Merseyside Police will get a mention for one of the most disastrous uses of social media.

After a football match where Everton FC beat Sunderland AFC 6-2, some bright spark sent a tweet to the police force with the following “Hello. I’d like to report an incident of rape that occurred at Goodison Park, Liverpool, on November 1st at 3:00.”

Now the savvy social media manager out there would either ignore this comment (the best option) or try to tone down any reply, but instead, whoever was at the keyboard that day replied “Just to confirm there was no actual rape. Sunderland certainly got caught with their pants down.”

merseyside police

This event started a firestorm of negative comments towards the Merseyside Police who quickly deleted the tweet – but unfortunately, it was already out there.

While the comment from the Merseyside Police may not have had the intention to cause any offence, from an employment law perspective the comment’s negative reaction has had the effect of bringing the constabulary into disrepute and, in most companies, would result in disciplinary action or even dismissal for the individual who made it. We would have little doubt that the person that sent the tweet will be subject to disciplinary proceedings in due course.

Andrew Scaife, our Marketing Manager agrees, “We know that individuals and businesses are quick to conduct research online and will make a judgement if they see posts made by a business which are negative or controversial. It is important that we have systems in place such as colleagues to proof read and filter any responses to ensure they have something that, as a business, they are happy to put into the public domain.”

This is all very reminiscent of a recent Twitter backlash when a law firm tweeted “Been injured in a roller coaster crash? We’re experts” after the serious accident at Alton Towers in June that left several people seriously injured.

broad yorkshire tweet

It’s important to remember the brand and business you are communicating from whenever you put anything online. Flick that switch inside your head that sets your sensibilities to ‘business’ and consider if any offence could be inferred from what you write.

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