THE BLOG
11/05/2014 05:14 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Supporting #technologyandstuff

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This is already old news, given that it's been a week since the story first broke. That's dog years in social media.

But the point isn't lost on me at all, and in fact there's a lesson to be learned in here that is timeless.

Back people up!

We've grown up in a business world where we hold people accountable for their actions. We ask our employees to take responsibility for their work, and we empower them to act on behalf of our organization.

That's all well and good when things are going fine, but the minute there's an upset or a mistake then the fingers come pointing out. We start pointing at those responsible and hold them accountable to their actions.

In many ways, that's OK.

We should each accept responsibility for our work. But in some cases these employees literally pay for their mistakes. Particularly in social media where we've seen public mockery and people losing their jobs over posting on the wrong account or for being insensitive in their language use ... some have gone down in smoke with great fanfare.

Which is why I took great delight last week when I heard about #technologyandstuff.

A representative from Chevy was handing over the keys to a new truck to the MVP from the World Series and in essence he messed up his talking points. He was on national television and probably just got nervous. It happens to us all, trust me.

Rather than giving what probably should have been a detailed explanation of the superiority of the vehicle, he instead said that it had, "technology and stuff."

"Technology and stuff" ... not exactly a hard sales pitch.

Whoops.

Social media went on fire and a hashtag was formed almost instantaneously: #technologyandstuff. Then not too much later we saw #chevyguy light up on Twitter.

It could have easily been a bad moment for him and for the company, except that people started rallying around the #technologyandstuff guy. He is, after all, human and one of us. Folks just loved that he was human, and not some talking head spokesman for the brand.

Better yet ... the company even rallied around him.

Rather than chastise him, reprimand him, or worse yet fire him ... they applauded him. Applauded him for giving it his best shot and for being human. They even embraced the hashtag and started using it themselves, carrying right into other events like NASCAR. They even put the hashtag on the side of the truck!

Now granted, the company seized the moment in social media and took advantage of the positive momentum. But they also showed this employee their support, in a time of need. Which is what employers should do ... and employees should do the same in return for their company.

I'm happy to see the turn of events, particularly in social media where even the tiniest of mistakes can take on a negative life of their own, leaving damage along the way. Particularly when really no harm was done, no legislation ignored, or no regulation misinterpreted. Just a simple mistake.

When it comes to supporting employees, I hope this is trending for a long time.