It would be just plain remiss not to document the latest social media misstep of a brand, and only partly because I can’t help lauding the foolhardy bravery behind the @hmvtweets #hmvxfactorfiring HMV Twitter account hijack.
The story in brief: yesterday, 60 members of the HMV PR department were gathered together to be sacked by the music retailer, which has been in administration since Jan 14. And there the story may have ended – except that no-one had had the foresight to take away the keys to the Twitter account. The public watched in awe as the account went rogue:
.. and then chortled as they read:
Someone must have told him how to delete tweets (if not how to change the password), because that’s what happened next. The tweets were being pulled down as fast as they appeared, whilst the Twitterati tutted and knitted furiously, waiting for the blade to fall ..
… which of course it did, and finally the account was restored to someone still employed by HMV:
Although many preferred the original voice behind the account…
.. who apparently was one @poppy_powers, who had this to say:
You’ve got to admire her pluck and passion – and if she is to be believed, utter straightness. I guess she did the social media equivalent of picketing to state her case, although of course it was entirely unprofessional.
Now for the usual analysis of lessons learnt (although this hardly needs to be said):
- If you’re going to do something vastly unpopular, especially to those who run your social media accounts, change the passwords first. You do have the passwords already, don’t you? After all, you do use a secure log in system, don’t you? Oh.
- If one of your account goes rogue, don’t assume that deleting the tweets will work some pixel memory magic, and that the screengrabs taken by hundreds of social media tricoteuse will fade to nothing.
- If you have access to the account to delete the tweets then change the passwords, for heaven’s sake.
- If you really need to delete the errant content (and it’s understood that sometimes you really feel you must) then do so, but leave a considered and dignified acknowledgement of the fact in its place. (And change the password. Did I mention that?)