The job screening process of the today: Drug screening? Passed. Background check? Passed. Credit report? Passed. Social media background check? Errrr…ummmm…social media background check?
We knew it was only a matter of time and that time has come. Human resource departments now have access to companies that provide social media background checks. These background checks seek out your photos, your comments and facebook updates to inform prospective employers as to what job applicants are doing on the internet playground.
I’ve never wept for those who foolishly post inflammatory or inappropriate things on the internet. However, this trend in corporations becoming more interested in what employees are doing online seems a bit hypocritical. After all, some of the biggest social media mistakes come not from prospective employees, but the company’s own marketing department and I have the stories to prove it.
I’ve scoured the internet to share with you the biggest corporate social media blunders; picking one for each of the major social media outlets.
How many times have you been warned not to post pictures of yourself partying to your Facebook account and doing so could cost you a job in corporate America? So of course, no corporate facebook page would ever do such a thing, except…
…in 2007 Molson started a social media promotion called The Molson Canadian Nation Campus Challenge. Molson solicited college students to “Show everyone how you and your crew get the party started!” by uploading college party photos on their FB page. The college with the most photos would win the coveted #1 Party School in Canada designation.
The only problem is that college student parents and school administrators felt as though this promoted bingeing and underage drinking. Complaints mounted and the promotion ended early. Apparently the golden “don’t load party photos to Facebook” rule includes you too, corporations.
(Many of these and more can be found on the Social Media Wall of Shame)
The problem with limiting a message to 140 characters is that it lends itself to insensitive statements. I’d chalk up most insensitive tweets to this limitation. But, this isn’t the case when it comes to Kenneth Cole.
“Millions are in uproar in #Cairo,” the tweet read. “Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo -KC.”
The link — bit.ly being a URL shortening site — took those that clicked it to Cole’s website. The “-KC” signature at the end of the tweet made it clear that the misstep was Cole’s alone; his Twitter bio notes that “Thoughts that end in -KC are from me personally,” although employees also post there periodically without using the -KC signoff.
Perhaps the violent struggle for freedom and independence from ruthless dictators is not the best time to sell shoes?
Cyber bullying has gained some serious attention in the media lately. I wonder where corporate cyber bullying ranks?
Over a ten year span, CEO and Founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, visited the Yahoo Finance discussions commenting and lauding his own company’s stock value. At first blush, it does not sound like a scandal, until you learn that his handle was an anagram for his wife’s name Deborah. Oh, and that other thing where he went to the “Wild Oats” section of Yahoo Finance and spent a considerable amount of time trash talking his competition’s stock.
This leads me to wonder if social media background checks will find out if you’ve made comments using an anagram of your wife’s name? If so, is your daughter’s name safe…?
…Let’s just say that your daughter’s name is definitely not going to be safe if you are using her email address to complain about tomato farmers.
In 2008, a Burger King executive utilized his daughter’s email address to post on discussion boards and social media sites. The posts blasted tomato farmer groups that were advocating price increases so that laborers could see an increase in their wages. These posts yielded all kinds of media attention for the executive’s daughter who had no real connection to her Father’s activities.
Before catapulting your family into a media circus, you should ask yourself “why do I need to use my daughter’s email,” then answer yourself “because I’m probably about to do something stupid.”
Yes. There really is an iPhone app for everything. There was even this one that was designed to help guys “score” with women. The application “Amp Up Before You Score” let males choose a number of pick up lines to use on a variety of women with different stereotypical personality types. The app then provided an opportunity to brag about your conquest.
Would you lie on a blog to sell a product? Would you misspell “the” “teh” in order to hide the fact that your blog is phony? How about make the worst YouTube video ever? Then you’d be Sony.
In 2006, Sony created a fake blog called “All I Want for Xmas is a PSP” in order to sell playstations to social networks. Unfortunately for Sony, the internet knows how to look up site registrations. Once it was discovered that a marketing firm owned the site, it was all downhill for Sony’s reputation.
The video below still haunts five years later.
Good Idea: having a contest where consumers make their own commercials for your product. Bad Idea: having a contest where consumers make their own commercials for Chevy Tahoe.
In 2006, GM created a contest where consumers made their own Chevy Tahoe commercials using stock video of Tahoe’s traversing terrains. Entrants could also create their own text for the ads. What seemed like a benign idea, turned into a major social media fail.
Users began creating videos mocking Chevy and accusing the Tahoe of contributing to global warming. All of the negative feedback featured on Chevy’s site spilled into YouTube and Blogs. The contest is known as something called “crowdsourcing,” Wired Magazine termed the fail “crowdslapping.”
First, you should laugh and feel much better about your own personal social media fails, knowing that you could never top the blunders perpetrated by corporations. Then, go pull your partying pictures off of Facebook.