Pop Rocks: Airlines Demonstrate How to and How NOT to Do Twitter

Categories: Pop Rocks

American Airlines managed to do Twitter right, but who did it wrong?
Social media is complicated for corporate America. All companies feel the need to be involved in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, but not all of them know exactly what to do. It has led to a lot of missteps, some real triumphs and a bunch of people getting hired whose only resume qualification was "has over 1,000 followers and more than 20,000 tweets!" For a time, corporations were actually researching the Klout scores of prospective job candidates. Yeah, it was that stupid.

This week provided another couple of lessons in why this new technology platform is so difficult for corporations to handle, and both involved airlines. But, of the two airlines in question, one fared much better than the other.

The first is the story of a Dutch teen girl who posted a "joke" tweet to American Airlines claiming to be an Islamic terrorist who was going to do "something really big" on June 1. Needless to say, this set off the same kind of alarms that joking about having a bomb in your suitcase would at the airport. San Francisco pass rusher Aldon Smith found this out the hard way recently.

American Airlines responded on Twitter that they take threats seriously and reported the incident to the FBI, who tracked the girl via her IP address. She and her mother surrendered to police in Rotterdam, but it has been reported that she and friends have claimed it was a "joke." Yes, a joke, because the smartest thing you can joke about online or anywhere else is terrorism and the best way to express that brilliant sense of humor is to send a threat posing as a terrorist to an airline. Hilarious.

Of course, in this case, American did the right thing and handled the problem accordingly. Who knows what kind of punishment will be handed down for what is apparently an online prank, but clearly no one screws around with this sort of thing and my guess is the girl will learn her lesson the hard way.

This was an example of how to do things. On the other side of the spectrum, I give you US Airways.

This story continues on the next page.

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