Your Social Media Disaster Survival Guide

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**Guide not actually included.

More often than not, the Internet’s social scene can be very similar to middle school. One embarrassing, unintentional slip-up can completely destroy any social competence you (or a brand) possessed. And the trolls are always ready to pounce on your blunder– they can smell it like a shark senses blood in the water.

However, the big difference between the Internet and middle school is that exponentially more people are watching, judging and sharing whatever mess you may be trying to snuff. So the stakes are much, much higher.

Whenever PR disaster strikes, I think the best people/companies play it cool and figure out a smooth way to redeem themselves. Take the Red Cross for example. A few years ago, an employee accidentally tweeted the following from the main Red Cross twitter account (she thought she was tweeting from her own account when in fact it was still connected to Red Cross):


Not something you’d want tweeted on behalf of an employer who’s all about providing emergency assistance, disaster relief and education. Thankfully, they bottled it up quick and apologized.

I think the best brands are the ones that chime in and assist those that messed up (like Dogfish Head starting a campaign based on the hash tag to donate to the Red Cross). It’s kind of like that kid in middle school that sees you’re quite embarrassed for spilling your lunch all over your pants and offers you his extra pair of sweats. Yeah, that never happened.

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Al is a marketer at HubSpot, a marketing software company in Cambridge, MA. He is the creator of Mink.

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