Once again Twitter proved its title as the ‘pulse of the planet’ when British entertainment retailer HMV employees took control of the official @hmvtweets Twitter account and livetweeted what they called their “mass execution” . The account of 60 employees being fired all at once hit the twitter stream briefly before being removed by the Marketing Director who finally got wind.
The story was quickly picked up by Venturebeat where it was revealed that a total of 190 employees actually lost their jobs. It was an audacious and desperate move by the now ex-employee who was the online marketing and social media planner but also highlights another important point:
Twitter and social media will make or break a company’s reputation in an instant and you need to manage it.
Real-time messaging needs real-time control
How your social media activity is managed and controlled is becoming a prime concern as the above example highlights. It’s difficult to control a situation like this unfolding in real-time but a marketing executive must put controls in place or at least have the forethought to consider how sensitive content can be leaked and who has the ability to do it and by what channel. If anything it shows a failure in the HMV’s Marketing Director’s understanding of how social media works to both the advantage and disadvantage of an organization’s image. Simply deleting the material when it has hit in real-time is unfortunately not an effective measure anymore.
HMV was troubled enough but in a world where the real-time information is the lifeblood of the consumer and Twitter is the pulse, this act today shows the company executives’ ignorance of online media and of the online retail models which has caused its eventual demise.
I for one applaud the actions of @poppy_powers who was the social media manager, a once unpaid intern at HMV, who broke the story as it happened. It couldn’t have been any fun. Well done kid.