Social media is a great way to interact with your followers, but some brands and businesses often forget that it can be a double-edged sword. There are many ways social media can go wrong and giving people 100% free reign over a particular marketing stint is one of them.
‘Blurred Lines’ singer Robin Thicke might take a break from using Twitter after being mercilessly trolled in a social media stunt gone wrong. Just recently, VH1 decided to play host to a Twitter Q&A with the singer and encouraged everyone to send their burning questions for Thicke to @VH1 using the hashtag #AskThicke. The expectation that sensible questions would come through was quickly discarded as most Twitter users posted abusive, slanderous and hateful tweets to the singer. Many of the questions appeared to be about his “misogynistic” song lyrics and his relationship with Paula Patton, his ex-wife.
#AskThicke Did you really write a rape anthem as a love song for your wife and are you still wondering why she left you?
— Maria (@MariaJPrice) July 1, 2014
What form of sexual or emotional abuse will you be normalising in your next jaunty hit? #AskThicke
— Scriblit (@Scriblit) June 30, 2014
— Jamie DMJ (@JamieDMJ) July 1, 2014
Moral lessons of the story? First, VH1 should have listened to its Twitter followers right from the get-go. While it seemed that VH1 didn’t expect everything to spiral out of control, they did receive a fair warning from many Twitter users that things could get ugly the moment they sent that tweet encouraging everyone to ask Robin Thicke questions. And second, if you’re going to feature a controversial person on social media as part of your promotional stint, avoid giving everyone free reign because things can and will get ugly indeed.