I’m settling in to my day-to-day routine after being on vacation for a week and a half, most of which was spent offline. Catching up on what’s been happening, I’ve seen a few examplesÂ of brands experiencing some social media embarrassment. Last night, a DiGiorno Pizza employee learned a very valuable lesson: don’t participate in a hashtag’s conversation without knowing what the hashtag is about.
#WhyIStayed began as a way to show support for Janay Rice, the wife of newly suspended NFL receiver Ray Rice after video of him brutally punching her in an elevator was published online. People were sharing their personal stories of domestic abuse with each other. Many of the messages were powerful and Â heart wrenching:
#whyistayed I promised to give him 5 years after he hit me the first time #WhyIleft my daughter tried to kill herself when she was 4
â€” Rae (@Goddess_Rae) September 9, 2014
#whyistayed because I thought I was strong enough to fix things and make them better if I just tried harder, did more, and did it perfectly â€” CarmenMarstonFeinber (@marstonfeinberg) September 9, 2014
#whyistayed When I disclosed to someone I trusted that I thought the next time I might die they said ‘you have made your bed now lie in it’
â€” Gemma Dunning (@gemmadunning) September 9, 2014
I was told marriage is forever. I didnâ€™t want to be a failure #whyistayed â€” Jessica Merrell (@jmillermerrell) September 9, 2014
Because after years of emotional, verbal and physical abuse you believe you are unworthy of happiness. #whyistayed
â€” Heather Nelson (@heatherlisa82) September 9, 2014
In the midst of stories of domestic abuse being shared, the person behind the DiGiorno decided to tweet this:
Clearly, they posted without looking up what the hashtag was about and what other people who were saying while using the tag. As a social media person, you need to be aware of the context of the conversation as well as what prompted the start of the conversation. Just like you can’t control a hastag you’ve started, you also can’t can’t just chime into an on-going discussion, especially when it’s promoting a product.
The original tweet has since been deleted and the DiGiorno community manager is now apologizing to as many people as he/she can:
Let this be a lesson to all social media and community managers, be mindful of what you’re about to share and always try your best to be aware of the basis of the conversation. As the DiGiorno staffer now realizes, your mistake can be both embarassing to your brand as well as insulting to those participating in the hashtag.