Social Media Mistakes That Still Haunt Us To This Day

  • A major part of existing on the internet is knowing what’s going on in the world and being up to date with trends before posting anything because, as we all know, the internet is forever.
  • Proofreading is one of the most effective ways to prevent social media mishaps mentioned in this article.
  • Tone is another thing to consider when posting anything because not everyone finds the same things “funny” and tone is hard to convey through text.

Be careful what you put on the internet, because it will live there forever! For businesses, this is especially true. In a matter of minutes, angry customers and Twitter users can latch on to a business’ poorly worded email, social post, or ad campaign and share their scathing thoughts on it, leaving these corporations to pick up the pieces of their broken reputation. In this article, we will review the top five worst errors made by businesses and address how you can avoid making the same mistake. 

Snapchat’s worst take on “Would You Rather?”

Snapchat is meant to be a lighthearted app where people can share pictures and receive news in the most digestible format. So, why would the popular app post a quiz degrading Rihanna?  The popular game “Would you Rather?” typically includes outrageous and silly tasks or situations, but the writers of this question were downright insensitive. The question posted was, “Would you rather slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown?” 

We’re not sure why anyone thought that this would be a good question to include, given the abuse that Rihanna suffered at the hands of popular rapper and singer, Chris Brown, but it goes to show that just because you think something is funny, doesn’t mean it should be posted to the internet. This question was published several years ago, and we think that the backlash would have been even greater if it were to be published in 2022. Stay woke, everyone! 

Adidas’ Boston Marathon email

In 2013, the Boston Marathon tragically made history when two bombs went off near the finish line. Nearly 260 people were injured, and three were killed. This was an extremely difficult time for those involved and for many people around the country, so it came as a great shock when Adidas sent out an email to the participants of the marathon that read, “Congratulations, you survived the Boston Marathon!” Though the email was sent in 2017, several years after the bombing took place, people were quick to remind the company about the real survivors of the bombing.

While some may brush this off as an unfortunate choice of words, many were deeply offended to receive this email. The sports apparel company immediately sent out a statement claiming that they were “incredibly sorry” for the “insensitive” subject line, but the damage had already been done. We think this could have been easily avoided by staying up to date with recent events and by never underestimating the power of having others proofread your work to catch mistakes that you may have missed! 

Starbucks’ seductive new espresso 

Starbucks is known for pushing the envelope, but the public was not ready for their new espresso. The company introduced its new blonde drink with a fun and flirty campaign that included a lot of suggestive language. Some examples included “Blondes have more fun” and “Tall, blonde, and gorgeous.” It also left customers ordering “tall blondes,” which was surely awkward for the baristas. 

This may not have been a technical proofreading error, but the campaign definitely could have benefitted from another pair of eyes looking over it before launch day. It’s important to remember that when you’re addressing the general public, not everyone will have the same background and sense of humor as you. Our advice is to take extra caution and stay away from anything too edgy unless you want to end up on the wrong side of angry Twitter.

Tweet "I start work at 6 this morning. I can't wait for all the blonde jokes #BlondeEspresso #Starbucks"

Mcdonald’s incomplete Black Friday Tweet

Not everyone can finish a project in one sitting. It’s fairly common for people to make notes and come back to a project later, but when you work for one of the largest corporations in the world, you should probably proofread your work before you post it to millions of Twitter users. 

Not too long ago, McDonald’s tweeted, “Black Friday *** Need copy and link***” The tweet was clearly intended as a placeholder and was not meant to be posted to Twitter, but Twitter users ended up lovin’ it and quickly started participating in the joke. Luckily, McDonald’s was able to spin the situation and poke fun at their own mistake, but we can’t say for sure whether their social media manager kept their position after that mistake. 

McDonald's Tweet "Black Friday **** Need copy and link ****

Millennials to snake people

Does anyone remember the Google chrome extension that replaced the word “millennial” with “snake people”? The New York Times certainly does. In 2018, a staffer writing for The New York Times copied and pasted a quote from another Times piece but left their “Millennials to Snake People” extension on. Because the section was copied and had already been through editorial review, the mistake was left undetected. They later clarified that the reference to “the Time of Shedding and Cold Rocks” in a fact check of President Trump’s claim on trade was indeed accidental. 

Leave it to the pros & avoid mistakes 

We know that social media can be tough to manage along with all of your other responsibilities. If you want to take your social presence to the next level but you need a little bit of support, we would love to help! Contact us today so you can avoid devastating social media proofreading errors. 

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Clarissa Castillo
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