Thanks to all who came and attended our employment law seminar at the Hartford Club today. As a reminder, we’re running another one on October 18th.  More information is available here.

At today’s seminar, we talked about the need for companies to implement a social media policy and also about how social media can get out of control quickly.

I used, as an example, a tweet from last night’s presidential debate. In the middle of the debate, the following tweet from KitchenAid’s corporate account appeared:

“Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president’. #nbcpolitics”


That tweet used a “hashtag” that made the tweet easily seen by anyone following NBC News’ coverage of the debate.  The tweet itself was quickly deleted and replaced by a series of other tweets including this one: “It was carelessly sent in error by a member of our Twitter team who, needless to say, won’t be tweeting for us anymore.”

KitchenAid to its credit, has responded swiftly and promptly.  And it has made the most of what was obviously a mistake by a person who ran the Twitter account.

But the damage is already done.  Everyone has now seen it.  And we’re talking about it all over the internet today. 

Could this have been avoided? Yes and no.

First, let’s state the obvious. A tweet like this is just the new version of the “reply all” mistakes we see time and again.  No amount of technology is going to ever prevent a mistake from happening.

But there are ways to reduce the risk of these types of tweets from happening.  How?

Well, PR Daily already recapped some of them here.  They include: making sure that only members (and not interns) have access to your social media accounts; making sure you have a policy that outlines penalties and usage guidelines; and making sure that people who use multiple accounts note that their personal tweets are, well, personal.

Social media policies, as we talked about at today’s seminar, are continuing to evolve.  If you don’t have one yet, get one. If you have one, take a look at it periodically to see if it is still being followed in practice.  And above all else, educate your employees in how social media should be used by your company.

Learn from others. Mistakes happen. But some mistakes can be avoided.