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Recipe For A Twitter Fail: Was Entenmann’s #Guilty of Hashtag Hijacking?

Call it a half-baked attempt to be topical…or perhaps, just a mistake. As Twitter erupted following the surprise guilty verdict in the Casey Anthony murder trial, Entenmann’s adopted the rapidly trending #notguilty hashtag to tweet a whimsical update about “eating all the tasty treats you want.”

The tweet lasted only minutes. Someone realized the juxtaposition wasn’t appetizing, and it was swiftly deleted. Entenmann’s then posted an apology – actually, two apologies – for the tasteless tweet, explaining that it was purely unintentional.

That’s hard to swallow. But, hey, Twitter mistakes happen. (Just ask Anthony Weiner.) What takes my breath away, though clearly it shouldn’t, is how a minor mistake, quickly corrected, blew up faster than quick-rising dough.

TechCrunch posted a harsh item that was instantly picked up all over the place, and the thing was viral. Even mainstream media was snacking on the tasty tweet. It was widely compared to Kenneth Cole’s Twitter fail of last spring, albeit with a greater spirit of  indulgence. And the same fake Twitter account that posted bogus updates about Cole has popped up again as @EntenmannsPR, complete with truly nasty posts. (Tip for @Entenmann’s: Don’t dignify it by mentioning it by name in your stream, even to deny authorship.)

Three hours later, Entenmann’s social media agency, Likable, posted a lengthier mea culpa taking full responsibility for the mistake. Except for a self-serving reference to the founder’s pro bono work, it was textbook apology PR.

In my view, the whole thing is a storm in a coffee cup. (Am I the only one bothered as much by the tweet’s awkward syntax?) The harsh justice served up by the blogosphere hardly fits the ‘crime’ here.

But #CookieGate does point out the need for social media oversight. Twitter and similar social media  platforms may look like a piece of cake, but they’re not. Oversight by an experienced professional, a PR sensibility, and simple good judgment are essential ingredients of a social media plan.

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