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Social Media – Friend or Foe?

Social media logos

This is an interesting one for me. I love Facebook and Twitter, and use them regularly. However, I am the first one to chime in on the debate over whether its being taken too far. Tweeting from the gym. Instagramming your dinner. Airing your family issues and tagging one another in a status update. Is it really necessary?

Everyone recognises how widely social media is used, but have you ever considered how quickly it can backfire when used on a professional level? Lets take a look at some of the biggest flops.

1) #WhyImVotingUkip

If there’s one skill that Brits possess, its sarcasm. With tensions running high around the recent elections, Ukip members took to Twitter to express their support for the party and the reasoning behind it.

So imagine their surprise (really?!) when the hashtag (#WhyImVotingUkip) was hijacked by the British public, and their intentions were ripped to shreds.

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And my personal favourite:

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2) HOPA quits her job.

In another example, what about Jenny, who quit her job via 33 white board messages? Her resignation went viral, but for all the wrong reasons. After emailing her detailed message to 20 colleagues, listing all the reasons why she hated her job, people were talking about her badass bravery.

Pretty funny, right? I bet we’ve ALL had a boss who we’d relish telling what we really think of them.

Unfortunately for Jenny, her boss (the garbage diSpencer) retaliated in the same way, ruining any credibility she had, and threatening legal action.

3) #MyNYPD

When the New York Police department invited citizens to tweet pictures of their dealings with “New York’s finest” with the hashtag (or should we say bashtag?) #MyNYPD what could possibly go wrong?

Well… the whole scheme could backfire, with hundreds of citizens responding detailing police brutality… thats what. Lets take a look at some of the most shared responses.

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NYPD grab elderly man

4) Obama funeral selfie

Barack Obama, David Cameron and Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt came under fire during the funeral of Nelson Mandela for being seen taking a group selfie. Was this really an appropriate way for a the President to behave during the memorial for a fellow world leader? Probably not. Within hours, endless criticisms of Barack had been issued, alongside jokes about the First Lady, who looked seriously unimpressed at her hubby’s antics.

Obama at Mandela funeral

“Is this not being blown out of proportion? It was only a picture…..”

Possibly, and I strongly believe that Obama was more heavily criticised for his part in it because of his race. There. I said it. He was expected to somehow better ‘identify’ with the late Mandela because of skin colour, did you notice how Cameron didn’t face the same level of backlash from the public? Don’t get me wrong, I think that they are equally guilty, their behaviour was ridiculous. I’ve been to Cape Town, faced my phobia of boats to get to Robben Island and visited cell 466/64. The utter lack of respect given to the occasion was disgusting. If our world leaders don’t know how to conduct themselves at such an occasion… What hope do the rest of the people who feel the need to tweet every 6 minutes just so we know they are still alive have?

5) #WaitroseReasons

Supermarket chain Waitrose asked shoppers to complete the sentence “I shop at Waitrose because…#Waitrose Reasons”. It seemed almost cruel (and probably disastrous for the PR team) when people started to reply ridiculing the store for it ‘posh’ image.

Just a few of the amusing responses included:

“I shop at Waitrose because it makes me feel important and I absolutely detest being surrounded by poor people”

“I also shop at Waitrose because I was once in the Holloway Road branch and heard a dad say ‘Put the papaya down, Orlando!’”

Members of the public ridiculed the high prices at Waitrose with one saying: “I shop at Waitrose because I think food must automatically be better if it costs three times as much.”

Waitrose (rather subduedly) responded by saying:

“Thanks for all the genuine and funny #WaitroseReasons tweets. We always like to hear what you think and enjoyed reading most of them.”

The (mostly hilarious) responses sparked a debate as to whether the social media initiative had actually gone wrong. As was clear, the ploy attracted a lot of attention, and they do say “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” don’t they? I’ll leave it up to you to decide!

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Author: Sarah Limond

Sarah is often mistaken for a Powerpuff Girl.

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