Monday, December 12, 2011

This Week in Social Media

Angry tweets ground Alec Baldwin
When an American Airlines flight attendant chastised Alec Baldwin for playing Words With Friends on his mobile phone as the plane was ready to depart, he immediately took his outrage to Twitter. “Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving. #nowonderamericaairisbankrupt,” he tweeted, referring to the airline’s November 29 bankruptcy filing. His verbal abuse of the flight attendant got him kicked off the plane, prompting him to tweet that American was “where retired Catholic school gym teachers from the 1950’s find jobs as flight attendants.” American responded with a press release on its Facebook page, standing by its employees for following federal safety rules. Hours later, Baldwin suspended his Twitter account.
Zynga shows its support for Baldwin
The Takeaway: This is another reminder not to tweet when you’re angry, as your words may come back to haunt you. Baldwin joins Ashton Kutcher, Gilbert Gottfried, and Chris Brown who were a little too candid on Twitter. I also find it funny that this entire episode couldn’t have happened a few years ago, before Twitter and Facebook and Words With Friends were invented.

Facebook’s most popular fashion brands are on your feet
The most-liked fashion brand on Facebook is Converse, with almost 21 million likes. This wasn’t a big surprise to me, as I covered the shoe company’s great social media efforts back in May. Second place goes to Adidas, third place to Burberry, and fourth place to Levi’s. I think it’s interesting that a luxury brand is nestled among two brands of footwear and a jeans company. Keep in mind that these are only fashion brands; the most-liked brand of any kind on Facebook is Coca-Cola, with over 36 million likes. Coke, after all, is the most valuable brand in the world.

The Takeaway:
 Converse does a lot right. Most of its tweets are responses to fans; its Facebook page is filled with great photo and video content; it reaches out to its artistic audience by offering free rentals of a Brooklyn recording studio; it posts music videos on its YouTube channel. CEO Geoff Cottrill’s philosophy is “Know yourself as a brand, be confident in your POV, and act that way wherever you are.” I couldn’t agree more.
Mexican restaurant tweets get spicy
An employee of a Boston restaurant tweeted that her job “sucks.” She then not only named her employer but also @replied it: “I work at this place called @boloco on Newbury Street.” Boloco CEO John Pepper tweeted back at her: “Sorry. Not anymore.” But Pepper took back his Twitter termination, giving the employee her job back without even a reprimand. “We’ll try to help her find more things to enjoy,” he told the Boston Herald. He may have been worried that the employee would sue over cause, or for being publicly humiliated; the law still isn’t very clear on these 21st-century issues.
The Takeaway: As Alec Baldwin has learned, be careful what you tweet. That goes both for the unnamed Boloco employee and for the CEO, who both looked impulsive and juvenile to the entire Twitterverse. And check with a knowledgeable lawyer about hiring, firing, and interviewing via social media.
Students find safety in social media numbers
The power of social media was shown again during last Thursday’s shooting on the campus of Virginia Tech. The student newspaper, The Collegiate Times, provided updates on its website; when that went down (probably due to traffic volume), the student journalists spread information through the paper’s Twitter account and Facebook Page. As the news changed minute to minute, other outlets were breaking the story on Twitter.
The Takeaway: A number of posts were from students, alerting others to the danger or telling their friends and families that they were safe. Between the school communicating with students, students communicating with each other, and the press communicating with the public, it’s obvious how much social media’s speed and scope have changed our world.

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