2011 social media disasters – and how to do better!

Here we don’t just look at the Top 10 Social Media Disasters of 2011, we also take advice on how to sensibly prepare ourselves to deal a PR crisis.  There are 3 short videos in this article.


It’s always more interesting to hear when the big brand names get it wrong.  Everyone makes mistakes, and David Amerland has chosen his top 10 social media mistakes from the big brands in 2011.

As an introduction to his book, The Social Media Mind, he reminds us some disastrous PR weeks.  Do you remember when Qantas launched a twitter competition on the day Union activity grounded their flights? Or when GoDaddy dealt with the backlash when its CEO shot an elephant?  What about when Kenneth Cole tried to sell shoes by making a joke about the Arab Spring uprisings?  And Blackberry failing to engage with its users about its prolonged outage?



If you’re interested in David Amberland’s book you can find it on Amazon UK, Amazon US or Amazon Canada or in our own Amazon powered bookshop.

Of course it’s not enough to know where things have gone wrong, so we also picked some the most useful free videos on learning how to get it right.  Now… we apologise in advance for the production values of some of the things here: we didn’t pick the films for their stunning sets or camera work, and we certainly aren’t enjoying the music, but – if you step back from the cover of the book, so to speak – we liked the advice they offered!

Ellen Rohr is a small business expert.  We like her down to earth approach, as well as the very simple, practical response she’s going to teach you so that you can respond to any first approach from the media!


As Ellen says, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and practising what you’d do in a PR disaster will be invaluable if you actually have to deal with this kind of incident at any point in the future.  It’s just another aspect of business continuity exercising and planning. The production values of the video may not be great – but the advice is.

On a slightly more formal note, Ember Regis notes that your ability to handle a PR crisis can make or break your business.

We like the reminder that “what seems like a disaster to you, may be of no interest to the media.  Don’t create a crisis by jumping the gun.”  This possibility is often overlooked by trainers who are more keen to stress the fear factor!


Remembering that your first responsibility is people safety and well being is sterling advice for an incident response, be it for PR, continuity or any other purpose.  Having a crisis plan in place is a must, and we’d encourage you to consider their recommendation of ensuring that two or three people are trained to handle the media in even in a small firm.

So there you have it, 2011’s top 10 social media disasters, a book recommendation, and two sets of ideas on how to approach your response to the issues.

If you’re interested in other book resources, we like the ones below.  They link to Amazon UK, but you can find most of them on Amazon US and Amazon Canada too.


If you have others to recommend, why not comment below?

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