Twit­ter quit­ters

Split- sec­ond melt­downs by celebri­ties on so­cial me­dia are caus­ing PR night­mares

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Web -

EVER since Ash­ton Kutcher ( pic­tured) suc­cess­fully used Twit­ter as a pub­lic re­la­tions’ ve­hi­cle, celebri­ties have flocked to the site in or­der to reach out to their ador­ing pub­lic in 140 char­ac­ters or less.

Us­ing mi­cro- blog­ging to their ad­van­tage, they at­tract new fans and con­nect with ex­ist­ing ones with mi­croof­fer­ings of in­sight into their lives.

The real- time stream of Twit­ter has given a new sense of hu­man­ity to the stars we ad­mire, but the un­fil­tered na­ture of so­cial me­dia means those users with a rep­u­ta­tion to pro­tect are only one click away from pub­lic re­la­tions’ dis­as­ter.

Once a hastily- typed tweet is pub­lished, there is no go­ing back, re­sult­ing in some tweet­ers delet­ing their ac­counts.

With more than 600,000 fol­low­ers, ac­tor Alec Baldwin has been a star Twit­ter user, but he re­cently shut down his ac­count due to a PR scuffle with Amer­i­can Air­lines af­ter he was kicked off a plane in Los An­ge­les for re­fus­ing to switch off his de­vice be­fore take- off.

‘‘ Flight at­ten­dant on Amer­i­can reamed me out 4 play­ing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not mov­ing. # nowon­der­amer­i­caairis­bankrupt,’’ he tweeted.

The air­line took to Face­book in de­fence, post­ing that Baldwin had been rude, unco- op­er­a­tive, slammed the lava­tory door, alarm­ing the crew and called them names, be­fore be­ing ejected.

And 24 hours later, Baldwin’s Twit­ter page @ Alecbald­win was wiped clean.

Celebrity melt­downs online are an amus­ingly com­mon oc­cur­rence.

‘‘ When you’re deal­ing with hu­mans, mis­takes are in­evitable,’’ Twit­ter ap­pli­ca­tion client Hoot­suite ex­plains about its new ‘‘ Se­cure Pro­files’’ fea­ture, re­quir­ing dou­ble- con­fir­ma­tion of tweets be­fore pub­lish­ing. It was de­signed to pre­vent in­ci­dents such as when per­sonal mes­sages were broad­cast over of­fi­cial brand ac­counts such as @ Chrysler­autos, @ red­cross and @ mar­c­ja­cob­sintl, caus­ing dam­age to their rep­u­ta­tions.

‘‘ Even the most ex­pe­ri­enced and fine- tuned so­cial me­dia teams can find them­selves spend­ing valu­able time and re­sources to undo or de­flect split­sec­ond mishaps.

‘‘ A team mem­ber who isn’t pay­ing at­ten­tion might ac­ci­den­tally se­lect the wrong pro­file to pub­lish their per­sonal mes­sage to. Be­fore you know it, you could have a Tweet ex­press­ing views . . . which may not be re­flec­tive of your brand.’’

The dan­ger of our clever new tools is there is still a hu­man driv­ing the ma­chine. And oh, how hu­man we are.

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