Companies are increasingly using social networks as a way to connect with customers, journalists and other interested folk.
Most of these interactions are between complete strangers so occasional misunderstanding are almost guaranteed. But sometimes staff stray way beyond what most would consider sensible when representing an employer.
Such an exchange is copied below, it starts with a tweet from an official Virgin Media account @TVOnVM which is followed by 1,400 Twitter users and therefore is a fairly public online space.
TVOnVM: Emmerdale crash: who lives and who dies? virg.co/LCvlx
seenituk: Who cares?
TVOnVM: Obviously not you.
seenituk: Nor most of the UK.
TVOnVM : My, someone’s in a mood today. Am so glad you are here to act as the mouth piece for ‘most of the UK’.
seenituk: viewing figures are less than 50% of UK population it’s therefore a fact that majority don’t care. Sorry your math is so remedial
TVOnVM: Did I mention maths? Please go away now you sad little person.
While it’s not the funniest of interjections, my first tweet was made in what I consider to be the very well known tradition of answering a series of “who…” questions with “Who cares?”
As I’d expect “resident telly addicts” to know, funnier people have done it better but it was a fairly innocuous remark on my part.
My second response is a mathematical fact. The UK population is over 62m, while according to BARB Emmerdale gets around 8m viewers.
54m people choose not to watch it. That’s “most of the UK”, so rather than trying to act as anyone’s mouthpiece I was merely stating a fact.
Being called “sad” isn’t the worst thing to happen to anyone but it seems an unprofessional way for a comms team to deal with people in a public arena.
Virgin Media’s Head of Consumer Media Relations seems to agree, but while I’ve had an apology via private email, as of writing this the tweet has not been deleted and the staff member has yet to apologise.
[An hour after using their corporate Twitter account to insult me in front of their customers, Virgin Media finally apologised via Twitter]
Like all companies, Virgin Media expect customers and other stakeholders to treat their staff with courtesy and respect. It’s a shame at least one staff member doesn’t feel obliged to treat others in the same way.
By the way, have you heard the one about the Pay-TV company which sells a PVR lacking red button services, needed customers to proof-read the EPG, failed to record, suffered a PPV failure and who have been asked three times to change their TiVO marketing material by the ASA?