I enjoy Twitter, but the Twitterverse can be one scary place. When you’re up, you’re up. But let poop hit the fan, and you’re suddenly in the dog house. And the level of dog house varies. For example, there’s the well meaning misstep such as the recent Hanes campaign #UnderCoverColor. Basically the premise is tweet them your underwear color. Innocent enough if you have a sense of humor, but then some twit tweeted this: “A good girl might not share her underwear color, but who says I’m a good girl? Tweet us your #UnderCoverColor“
“Good girl?” Gahh!! Really? And after not thinking too much about this promoted hashtag originally, suddenly I noticed that only women seemed to be participating and it indeed seemed to be a campaign aimed at women. As if men don’t wear colored underwear. Let’s try this:
A good boy might not share his underwear color, but who says I’m a good boy? Tweet us your #UnderCoverColor
Then there’s the misstep that doesn’t happen on Twitter, but becomes a Twitter firestorm full of witticisms that takes down an empire (temporarily). Think Paula Deen and #PaulasBestDishes.
Recently singer R. Kelly decided to take to Twitter and allow fans(?) to ask him questions about his new album at #AskRKelly. What could go wrong with that? Considering there’s evidence he’s a child predator who has managed to somehow stay several steps ahead of the law, it was a train wreck waiting to happen. The Village Voice, and others, covered it, but if you really want to visit the unpleasantness in raw form just go straight to Twitter. Hashtag AskRKelly joined #AskJPM, that’s JP Morgan, in the ask-a-question burial grounds of Twitter.
Speaking of PR disasters, the final recent oopsie doodles comes from a PR professional. Her tweet: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”
This one is just hard for me to understand. I guess I can only chalk it up to entitlement and privilege when I see the last two-word sentence. Because who else would think throwing race into that conversation was going to be okie dokie? Let’s substitute United States for Africa and straight or woman for the word white. Mmm hmm. Yeah, just nothing about that sentence works in any kind of way as funny. In her apology she said, “Unfortunately, it is terribly easy to be cavalier about an epidemic that one has never witnessed firsthand.” Perhaps she is too young to remember the 1980s in the United States. Because I sure remember hearing about an AIDS epidemic on the news regularly.
All of this can make a person downright nervous to “join the conversation,” as we’re so often implored by brands to do. All I know is I hope I never become an infamous twit on Twitter.