Social Media Sunday School: Mistakes Were Made

Here is this week’s Social Media Sunday School article by Megan Hargroder of Week 4 (Our Social Tribune).  More information on Megan and what she does here.


Mistakes Were Made

(by everyone. so relax.)

When it comes to managing your social presence online, nobody’s perfect.

Even the military experiences email marketing glitches, like this week when they accidentally sent out draft emails to men over the age of 100.

The key to online success isn’t to be afraid of mistakes, or deluded into thinking that you’ll never make one.

It’s about correcting those mistakes strategically, and when possible, turning a negative into a positive.

Say You’re Sorry

Over the 4th of July, American Apparel posted a photo of the 1986 space shuttle Challenger explosion (mistaken for fireworks), and people got real mad.

They released an apology + excuse + note that the image had been deleted within a reasonable period of time, and most people have already forgotten the incident.

But did you know AA had a Tumblr before that? (I didn’t)

I bet they got tons of new followers though.

Don’t Make Excuses 

The main problem with American Apparel’s apology is that it was mostly just an excuse, rendering it defensive and less genuine.

After the U.S. / Ghana World Cup game, Delta Airlines tweeted a picture of the statue of liberty (representing the U.S.) and a giraffe (to represent Ghana).

The problem: There are no giraffes in Ghana. (Except maybe in zoos).

Was this completely inappropriate and offensive? 

You bet it was.

Should representatives of a GLOBAL airline during the WORLD CUP have been more aware?


And that’s exactly what Delta said in their official response.

That’s a grown up apology. 

No interns were blamed. No claims of accidental post glitches. Just honest responsibility taking. 

Plan Ahead

For those prone to making social media mistakes on the regular — specifically those that involve late night drinking — check out the new social networking app “Sobrr” – which promises to forget everything posted within 24 hours.