Tweeting in the Moment -- Lessons Learned From Bedlam & OU

Following one of the most anticipated Big 12 match-ups, (6) Oklahoma State versus (17) Oklahoma the twitter account, @OUCompliance, fired off the tweet below in what was probably a moment of overjoy for their team defeating their biggest rival.


It's completely obvious that this tweet was meant to be posted on a personal account, but like we've seen time after time the user may have forgotten to switch accounts leading to yet another major Twitter #fail and in most cases their job.

The Twitter fail isn't just for the smaller accounts and bedlam matchups, but we've seen this same thing happen time after time with big corporations feeling the brunt of user backlash. In 2013 we have the most recent SpaghettiOs "Pearl Harbor" tweet, the fake Twitter hack from @ChipotleTweets, and the Kyle Kinane vs. Pace Salsa debacle. Avoiding the ultimate Twitter shaming is easy. We've all tweeted things we regret and ultimately delete the tweet, but if you're an organization or company it's harder to recover from the slip.

Twitter doesn't sleep. Users who are in charge of corporate accounts are always alert and paying attention to what's happening in their stream. This means that work and personal Twitter accounts are sometimes added into programs like Hootsuite or Twitterfeed for easy access, but the problem is these same users sometimes don't pay attention to the account they're tweet from and tweets like this happen. Knowing how to manage work and personal accounts can be easy when following a few simple rules.

So you're responsible for a few Twitter accounts -- how do you avoid tweeting from the wrong account and what to after the fact?

Use two different apps. One of the main reasons people tweet from the wrong account is because they mix personal and business accounts all in one app. The easiest way to solve this problem and from what I've found most effective is to use two different apps for business and personal use. For instance, for my personal account I use the standard Twitter app so every time I load the app I know I'm always tweeting from @rblake. Anytime I'm tweeting for a client I will pull up Hootsuite, which allows me to easily distinguish the difference of accounts.

In this case it looked like @OUCompliance (now deleted or changed) was using, which means the background and color scheme of the account would be branded. The only reason I could think of for this massive Twitter fail would be that OU basically won with 19 seconds to go. It was a pretty big moment in the game and the user was overjoyed with the potential victory and that he/she wasn't paying attention to which account they were under. It's also possible they were using the web version of Hootsuite and clicked the wrong account.

Have a strategy in place. If you're in the industry or follow the news tweeting from the wrong account isn't something new, but having a strategy in place or following a list of best practices is key recovering from misguided tweets. In this instance the account was deleted probably because they were flooded will hundreds of tweets about the mishap. After the tweet the account alluded to the fact that they were hacked, but we're not stupid enough to believe that.

Companies and organizations can recover from these types of incidents if they are completely transparent with their followers. Most people would've laughed off or paid less attention to what happened if the account never lied about what actually went down. Instead they tried to recover quickly which backfired. Deleting the account is also not the way to go. Yes, it was a bad tweet, but I can't think of a tweet where I have thought, "Wow, they should just delete their account and move on." That's why a plan needs to be in place for when something like this happens.

This won't be the last Twitter fail we see this year. Companies can learn a lesson from what happened Saturday evening and learn how not to handle this type of situation. Be transparent and if something like this does happen, apologize and handle the situation internally. Don't create a bigger public relationship nightmare by lying or ultimately deleting your account.