How Twitter destroyed this company

Posted by David Zaleski on February 5th, 2013 at 10:02 pm

If you haven't heard this story, you won't believe it. This company simply got killed by a bad day of social media.

I'd never heard of HMV before, but I certainly know them now. And it's not because they're an awesome company. It's because they fired 60 employees, and a few minutes later those employees took to Twitter on the company account.

It was beautiful. Not because people got fired, but because it really showed the world we now live in.

Here's a taste of their Twitter activity before the mass firing:

Pretty nice huh? I especially like Emma's input. She's super super excited. HMV broke news that made her the MOST HAPPIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD!!! What a nice company. That's the power of HMV baby.

As mentioned before, I had never heard of this company. I didn't have an opinion, idea, anything really. I thought about them as much as I thought about the next season of Teen Mom. Not at all.

So what was it that shaped my entire view of this place? Angry tweets from irate employees. Here's how it went down:

It began on January 31, when 60 employees were taken into a room and fired all at once.

As they left the HR office, one of the victims decided, screw it. It's social media time, and with an unnecessary number of punctuation marks!!!

It continued...

The mood and atmosphere was well set with that. Well done Hemingway

You can't handle the truth

Adding, #holysh%#,thepeasantsarerevolting

And finally my favorite...


HMV's Twitter followers shot up by 10,000 in a few hours.

Think that's a good thing? Think again. Eventually, corporate re-gained control of the hostage situation and issued some appology tweets. Here's the response from some of their new "fans":

Had enough? Nah, there's more.

And then the trolls had enough and stopped.

Did I say stopped? I meant kept going.

With just a few tweets, HMV was able to go from an ordinary company to a nationally hated business. So much so that they haven't tweeted since. Before this incident, they were averaging 5 tweets a day.

I now follow them for the same reason I follow Donald Trump. I didn't realize their tweets could be so juicy.

The lesson here is not, "Don't fire employees". It's don't take social media for granted. And for god sakes, make sure your marketing director knows how to use Twitter. This isn't 1990 anymore where it takes a huge corporate scandal to bring you down. People are just waiting for any meme, post, tweet or picture to demonize you and your business.

In summary, Twitter helped HMV go from this:

To this:

In just a couple hours.

That's the power of Twitter baby.

I think the best advice from this incident can be summed up by the final response tweet from one of HMV's new valued followers:

6 Responses to “How Twitter destroyed this company”

  1. I think that last message just about sums it up. Be careful who you give the power of your social presence to! Whether it's a rouge employee or someone Tweeting from the wrong account by accident you can't afford to screw up like this.

  2. richard says:

    What a simple, geeky world the author lives in - get real - Twitter didn't destroy HMV - piracy and cheap deals on the internet did that. The tweeters simply sealed its fate forever by damaging a customer base that might just have enabled the company to rebuild and re-employ some of those who were unavoidably released due to lack of business with which to keep paying them.

  3. steve says:

    One more reason to hate Twitter.

  4. Sean says:

    Pretty sure they didn't care if they became a nationally hatted business, so what if they wear hats. Spellcheck works fine as long as you don't mind changing the entire meaning. No great speller here but "hated" clearly only has 1 "t".

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