The HMV Firings: Twitter is the pulse of the planet but must be controlled


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.


Tags: ,

Categories: Human Resources, Social / Collaboration

Author:Theo Priestley

"I had more creative ideas from Theo in 6 months than I have had in 6 years from most people." Theo Priestley is one of the most recognised independent technology industry influencers and evangelists, ranking in the Top 100 thought leaders across Virtual/ Augmented Reality, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and future trends. Theo has written insights for Forbes, Wired, The European Magazine, Venturebeat to name a few, and has been interviewed for many online publications including the BBC on his thoughts on technology and the future. A regular paid keynote speaker and panelist at conferences and events, Theo is engaged for his forthright views and isn't afraid to challenge conventional thinking and the marketing hype surrounding the industry when presenting, never pulling punches to get the message across on how technology can be applied to improve business and the customer experience. He has also successfully organised and run TEDx and Ignite events. Highly active across social networks, he sits in the Top 1% for social media engagement on Kred and Klout and is constantly sharing articles and his analysis that he feels his audience would be interested in. Theo is also active in the startup community, mentoring within UK and US accelerators and sits on a number of advisory boards. Former VP and Chief Technology Evangelist at a Top 25 European enterprise software company with a career spanning both innovation strategy and delivery of software and business change in Financial Services, and as an independent technology industry analyst. Follow Theo on Twitter @tprstly or connect here directly for constant insights on tech and marketing trends. • Top 1% Influencer on Kred (915) • Top 1% Influencer on Klout (70+) • 12,000+ Followers on LinkedIn • 13,000+ Followers on Twitter • Recognised Top Influencer in AI, Virtual/ Augmented Reality, Fintech, IOT and Wearable Tech, Big Data and Analytics.

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