In the wake of the Boston tragedy, scrutiny has inevitably turned to coverage of the situation, and who was or wasn’t respectful.
It has become an almost ubiquitous feature of any crisis that at least one company will not know when to stop self-publicizing. For example, when Hurricane Sandy hit the U.S, somebody at American Apparel made the mistake of thinking they could use human tragedy to sell clothes, and the reaction of disgust dealt a damaging blow to the brand.
Yet people are slow to learn, and with each new disaster we see another damaged public image. In this case, it was Guy Kawasaki. Self-proclaimed social media ‘guru’ Kawasaki schedules constant tweets for each day (or rather, his interns do) and whilst the rest of the Twittersphere paid tribute to the victims of the Boston bombings, Guy continued his stream of self-promotion.
Unsurprisingly, the collective mind of Twitter turned angrily upon Kawasaki, who responded with ‘Loving how people with less than 1,500 followers are telling me how to tweet…’ further angering his audience and prompting a mass un-following.
Although Kawasaki has since scrambled to post ‘How to help Boston Victims’ tweets, the damage has been done, and the moment of social media hubris has dented Kawasaki’s reputation
The lesson Kawasaki and everyone else needs to take from this is that ‘No publicity is bad publicity’ isn’t all that applicable anymore (if it ever was). If you upset the social media universe, people un-follow you, un-like you and all of a sudden your audience is that much smaller.