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3/21/2014
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Twitter Turns 8: How To Fail In 140 Characters

Not everyone can get it right all of the time -- these businesses included. In honor of Twitter's birthday, here's a look at eight unforgettable Twitter fails.

respect their decision and will work with them to ensure an effective transition of this business going forward."

4. Bing capitalizes on tragedy
In 2011 when a tsunami devastated Japan, Microsoft's Bing posted a tweet that read, "How you can #SupportJapan. For every retweet @bing will give $1 to Japan quake victims, up to $100K." The seemingly harmless tweet struck a nerve with many followers, who accused the company of taking advantage of a disaster to promote its brand.

Seven hours later, Bing tweeted an apology: "We apologize the tweet was negatively perceived. Intent was to provide an easy way for people to help Japan. We have donated $100K."

5. HMV executive goes rogue
In January 2013, a social media executive for music chain HMV live-tweeted the firing of 190 staff from the corporate Twitter account. "We're tweeting live from HR where we're all being fired! Exciting!!" the first tweet read.

Eventually, the marketing director caught wind of the rogue tweeting, which, of course, someone also live-tweeted: "Just overheard our Marketing Director (he's staying, folks!) ask 'How do I shut down Twitter?' "

 6. Kenneth Cole's tasteless tweet
In September, Pentagon spokesman George Little commented on the crisis in Syria and declared that there would be no "boots on the ground" in that country. Fashion brand Kenneth Cole alluded to the Pentagon's assertion with a tasteless tweet that promoted its footwear. It read, " 'Boots on the ground' or not, let's not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers. #Footwear."

That wasn't the first time Kenneth Cole's Twitter account found itself in hot water: In 2011 it posted a tweet making light of the protests in Egypt. That one read, "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online."

7. Marc Jacobs intern calls it quits
A disgruntled Mark Jacobs intern said his goodbyes to the fashion company in a series of tweets... on the brand's official page. The rant called out CEO Robert Duffy as a difficult person to work with and ended with, "Yea, walk in my MJ shoes! Don't judge me! I'm alone in this office having to try and entertain you all. This isn't easy. I have tried. Done!"

The tweets were deleted several hours later, and the official Twitter account followed up with a post that read, "All is well here at MJ. Twitter is a crazy place. Protect your passwords."

8. Bank of America's robotic misstep
What happens when robots run your Twitter feed? Bank of America's saga started last year when someone tweeted that New York City police chased him away from his "chalkupy" sidewalk chalk drawing outside a Bank of America.

That's when the bots at Bank of America's "BofA_Help" Twitter account picked up on the activity, kicked into high gear, and tweeted the same generic messages to those who commented on the protester's tweet by continuously offering to "review your account with you to discuss any concerns."

Can the trendy tech strategy of DevOps really bring peace between developers and IT operations -- and deliver faster, more reliable app creation and delivery? Also in the DevOps Challenge issue of InformationWeek: Execs charting digital business strategies can't afford to take Internet connectivity for granted.

Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
3/27/2014 | 3:03:53 AM
Re: Downgrading your language with Twttr
Kristin, 

"Once upon a time, SMS messages were capped at 160 characters. Because Twitter was so relient on SMS it capped its character count at 140 to leave room for usernames when people retweeted messages. Voila!"

Ohh! It took you 203 characters to tell the story of Twitter. :) Sometimes it would be useful to be allowed a few more characters.

I know someone who said he might write a novel on Twitter, 140 characters a day. It could take him about three years to complete the project. :D

-Susan 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
3/27/2014 | 2:36:44 AM
Re: What have we learned about Twitter?
Kristin, 

"What's really fascinating is when companies make the same mistake twice. You have to wonder why they didn't learn the first time..."

Yes, it's amusing. :D I wonder if they keep a record of their social media mistakes. Maybe not. They should have someone with some knowledge in behavioural sciences deal with the Twitter accounts. 

-Susan
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
3/26/2014 | 9:02:13 PM
Re: Downgrading your language with Twttr
Once upon a time, SMS messages were capped at 160 characters. Because Twitter was so relient on SMS it capped its character count at 140 to leave room for usernames when people retweeted messages. Voila!
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
3/26/2014 | 8:59:47 PM
Re: What have we learned about Twitter?
What's really fascinating is when companies make the same mistake twice. You have to wonder why they didn't learn the first time...
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
3/25/2014 | 1:52:44 AM
Re: Downgrading your language with Twttr
Kristin, 

Have you ever wondered why 140 characters instead of 150? :/ 

-Susan 
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
3/24/2014 | 4:56:40 PM
Re: Downgrading your language with Twttr
I thought his "twttr" reference was amusing, too. He understood how precious each of those 140 characters would be before everyone else.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
3/24/2014 | 2:15:43 AM
Re: What have we learned about Twitter?
Daniel, 

"Powerful tools require responsibility, and these are some instances where that power is not wielded properly."

Exactly. When you go through the cases Kristin mentions you can't help but laughing. Well, I did. Then, you think we are talking about businesses here, not kids, and you want to cry. :D

-Susan 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
3/24/2014 | 2:03:39 AM
Downgrading your language with Twttr
Nice article, Kristin. :)

One of my observations on Twitter has been that since Twitter exists, almost 240 million users have downgraded their grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

One of the most annoying things is the omission of vowels. So, it was Twitter's co-founder who introduced this by twitting "twttr". Ha! 

-Susan

 
Madhava verma dantuluri
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Madhava verma dantuluri,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/24/2014 | 12:51:45 AM
Tweets
Good update and its true, lot of improvements to be done,.
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
3/23/2014 | 7:19:37 PM
Re: What have we learned about Twitter?
Great article. These examples prove how Twitter has developed into a platform for people to say what they want to. That doesn't always work to great results, but that's the point.

Powerful tools require responsibility, and these are some instances where that power is not wielded properly. 
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