The grown-ups are talking. Why Chrysler did the right thing

By now, you may have heard about the accidental f-bomb that an employee of New Media Strategies tweeted on the Chrysler twitter account. If you haven’t, it is here.

Social media has grown up. It’s what everyone who provides social media to business wanted. Yet the overwhelming opinion within the twitter elite leans toward things like “it’s just a tweet” and “you should turn this into a customer engagement moment” and “firing the employee was cruel.”

They are wrong. Two years ago, it would not have mattered. Today, the employee screwed up very, very badly.

Twitter can either be a serious business tool for companies to engage in social media or it is just a fun thing that nobody cares about. As a social media professional, you can’t say it is both in every situation. For a company like Chrysler, dropping an f-bomb or disparaging the City of Detroit on their twitter account is a terminable offense. Your brother-in-law who is driving in from Dayton, Ohio to visit you in Detroit saying the same thing on his twitter account is an opportunity for Chrysler to engage (unless he works for or supplies goods or services to Chrysler.)

AdAge is reporting that Chrysler is not renewing its contract with New Media Strategies. And rightly so. According to its twitter profile, New Media Strategies “established the world’s first social media marketing firm in 1999.” That has given them twelve years to establish account controls to ensure this never, ever, ever happens.

In 2011, mixing up client and personal twitter accounts is akin to a bank depositing funds in the wrong account. It just should never, ever, ever happen.

If you are pining for the good ol’ days of twitter where your audience was just fellow geeks and nerds, it is time for you to move on or grow up.

From the same episode of Mad Men* I borrowed the title, you can’t go out there, but I can. Because I am wearing a suit and tie. And you are still donning sandals, bell-bottoms, wrinkled shirts and peasant skirts. And you curse.

*Mad Men, Season One, Episode 8 The Hobo Code

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