Gini Dietrich

Three Things You Can Learn about Social Media from HMV

By: Gini Dietrich | February 12, 2013 | 

By now you’ve probably heard the story of the HMV employee gone rogue as a group of them were let go at once.

“We’re tweeting live from HR where we’re all being fired! Exciting!! #hmvXFactorFiring,” read the initial message from @HMVtweets, which has more than 70,000 Twitter followers.

This happened while 60 employees at the 91-year-old company were laid off during a round of downsizing.

Through seven subsequent tweets, Poppy Rose Cleere, the company’s newly axed 21-year-old online marketing and social media planner, aired the company’s dirty laundry to the world.

By the time the marketing director gained control of the account and deleted the offending messages, the damage had already been done…and the screen grabs had already been taken.

The tweets had gone viral and images were shared around the world.

The blogosphere first took notice (I saw it in several Facebook groups) and, by the next morning, every major news outlet was covering the story.

For the company, which just received bankruptcy protection, the PR debacle had extremely bad timing.

Making Hard Decisions

As a business owner who has had to do a round of layoffs, this is extremely painful. Sometimes you have to make decisions that are best for the health of the company and, unfortunately, that means letting people go.

I don’t consider layoffs as people being fired, but I know it doesn’t feel any differently to those on the other side of the desk.

I also don’t think it’s the wisest idea to tell everyone at once, though I understand when it’s a group as large as HMV let go, you have to do it as quickly and painlessly as possible or everyone starts to talk and speculate and create rumors.

I wasn’t going to write about this debacle until I read a blog post yesterday Yvette Pistorio wrote for a client…and she freaked me out!

Wake-Up Call

In it, she talked about how company social media accounts should have one universal password that is as easy to shut down as a person’s email account if they leave.


As it turns out, my team keeps social media passwords in a centrally located, and locked down, file we can all access. But I’ll admit I had to look in there yesterday to be sure.

But there are two other things you should consider for the organization’s social media accounts:

  • Centralize all the networks. We use Hootsuite for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. With the exception of Facebook, I am one of the admins on the other accounts. On Facebook, there are three people as admins so, if one person leaves, the other two can lock it down.
  • Control access through limited permissions. If you insist on giving junior employees the keys to your social networks, do so with caution. There are tools now (Hootsuite included) that allow you to assign permissions so junior-level employees can draft messages, but someone more senior has to approve them before they can be published. This kind of access probably would have saved Applebee’s from their PR crisis last week.

Yvette and I joked about this yesterday and she assured me she’d never go rogue. I don’t believe she would, but as an organization gets bigger, it’s impossible to understand the motivations of every, single person who works with you.

These kinds of things not only keep you safe from rogue employees, but they’re smart.

How do you manage social media so the company isn’t vulnerable to an angry employee?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • This goes for client relationships as well. I just checked and I’m still an admin on two former clients. Thankfully I”m still on good terms with them, just not working with them anymore. And thankfully I’m a nice guy.

    • @KenMueller I’m still the admin on a client from two years ago. I saw she got hacked a few days ago so I sent her a note that not only did she get hacked, but I still have access. As of three minutes ago, nothing has changed.

      • @ginidietrich Actually, one of those clients still owes me money. Hmmmm.

      • @ginidietrich  @KenMueller Yeah I have done some work with a brand, and someone started a fake twitter using their brand name.  I found everything they needed to get the change made, all they had to do was submit. That’s almost 2 years ago now…

  • belllindsay

    Yvette told me last night she was planning to go rogue today. FYI.

    • @belllindsay I love the fact that no one wonders if I will. 😉

      • belllindsay

        @allenmireles Yeah, I think you’re good Allen. LMAO!!!

      • @allenmireles  @belllindsay I’m not concerned about any of you, but it could become a problem as we grow. That’s why reading her blog post yesterday freaked me out…it never even crossed my mind.

        • @ginidietrich  @allenmireles  @belllindsay Uh, you do all know that there is another definition for “going rogue”, right?

        • belllindsay

          @KenMueller  @ginidietrich  @allenmireles No, I did not know that. Please share Ken.

        • @belllindsay  @KenMueller  @ginidietrich  @allenmireles I even Urban Dictionaried it- what does Ken mean?

        • @RebeccaTodd  @belllindsay  @ginidietrich  @allenmireles ahh. similar to “going commando”…

        • @KenMueller  @belllindsay  @ginidietrich  @allenmireles Lindsay doesn’t need a special term for that.

        • belllindsay

          @RebeccaTodd  @KenMueller  @ginidietrich  @allenmireles Lindsay invented that term. Wait. What?

  • Mathewdlhy5gus
  • I think part of the problem is just generally not knowing how to secure accounts. The other part is beliefs about social media that it’s free. Why spend money on a tool that protects you when social media is supposed to be free? Never mind the actual time cost. Never mind analytics. Never mind preventing this kind of PR nightmare that can cost so much more than the price of setting up a management tool.
    And I’m glad that @KenMueller pointed out the client admin aspect. I’ll definitely be keeping that in mind as my client list grows. I would never go rogue on any social media account, because my reputation is more important to me than hurting anyone else. My first thought when I read this story last week was that HMV made a mistake trusting social media with someone who wasn’t mature enough to realize that they weren’t only hurting the company with their actions.

    • @Karen_C_Wilson  Ah yes…perspective and experience are worth their weight in gold.

  • Ever since that guy took over the Marc Jacobs twitter feed a while ago, I have been super paranoid about this.  We are locked down over here and only two people have access to the accounts.  Same goes for most of our clients.  
    However, we work with a restaurant that has 8 admins for their Facebook page and 3 of them don’t work for the company itself.  They are vetted fans in similar industries.  It sounds crazy to give so many people access to the most trafficked web presence they have (yes bigger than the website), but it really works.  The extra admins provide really interesting content no one else has time to find/create and  no one’s gone crazy……. so far.

    • @HeatherTweedy Have they given those folks different admin capabilities since Facebook added those?

      • @KenMueller We lowered their permissions to content creators.  That way, if they do go crazy, they can’t kick everyone else off!  Though, I think their addiction to the restaurant’s flavored ketchups keeps everyone in line.

        • @HeatherTweedy  @KenMueller Note to self: provide addicting incentive so they want to stay in good graces.

        • @Karen_C_Wilson  @HeatherTweedy Yeah, my one restaurant client might be able to use this idea….hmmm.

        • @KenMueller  @Karen_C_Wilson Just for you, Ken, I’ll put up a case study on my  blog tomorrow about what we learned in the past two years of trying it out.  🙂

        • @HeatherTweedy  @Karen_C_Wilson ohhh. nice!

    • @HeatherTweedy Whoa…that’s an interesting scenario I’ve not run into. I don’t know how I feel about that.

  • This ties in with some of the other digital aspects of our business world today. Do you know all of the passwords on all of the other digital tools and accounts your employees and clients are using? Do you know how to find them in a pinch? Does your client? Do they know what to do if something happens and they need to access or shut down? Not only if you, or they, have to fire someone, but what if an employee is run over by a bus on the way to get that morning latte?

    • @allenmireles Well, clearly we do not based on the last two days. LOL!

    • @allenmireles And… and it’s not get run over by a bus, it’s win the lottery.

  • I am going to put your question aside for a moment- apparently Poppy has been flooded with job offers since her name became known. Now THAT just makes no sense to me.

    • belllindsay

      @RebeccaTodd Really?? That’s just crazy. I wouldn’t touch that with a ten-foot pole.

      • @belllindsay That is just according to this link- I have done no further research- 

      • @belllindsay  @RebeccaTodd Gini and I talked about this yesterday too. She was actually really smart about her answers after everything happened. She tweeted “I hoped that today’s actions would finally show them the true power and importance of Social Media, and I hope they’re finally listening.”
         @ginidietrich would hire her. I’d be more skeptical and she’d HAVE to be under watch for a while and have the approval process. She’d have to earn trust and that takes time.

        • @yvettepistorio  @belllindsay  @ginidietrich Hmm yeah I am still not seeing it. I don’t believe this is a situation where HMV has a ton of money and decided to just fire people anyway. And not to be ageist, but she is 21. So you got fired- you are 21- it happens. Was she meeting her goals at HMV I wonder?

        • @yvettepistorio  @belllindsay  @ginidietrich Still on about this. I believe her follow up tweets were a pretty transparent attempt to make her original tweets from HMV seem like something more than immature whining. Do you really think she stopped to create a plan and strategy before sending out those tweets? It comes off as a vapid excuse to me rather than a true justification.

        • belllindsay

          @RebeccaTodd  @yvettepistorio  @ginidietrich Jesus, I wouldn’t hire her either.

        • @belllindsay  @yvettepistorio  @ginidietrich To me, going on nothing more than the information above, she seems to feel very entitled. Sure, you got fired, and it hurt your feelings. The thing is, we are all responsible for our actions. I bet she vaguebooks and subtweets, too. It reads to me like intense narcissism.

        • @yvettepistorio  @belllindsay  @RebeccaTodd I would totally hire her. I think, with some mentoring, she would fit our culture perfectly. And I’d already know what she’s capable of, so I could write into her contract some stipulations that prevent the same thing happening again.

      • @belllindsay  @RebeccaTodd People are hiring based on Klout scores and number of Twitter followers so this does not surprise me.

        • @stevenmcoyle  @belllindsay Indeed. So really, whomever hired her and didn’t monitor her should look at their hiring and management practices.

  • HowieG

    1] The chances of something you do that is good going viral and being heard around the world….very very low. The chances when you do something wrong? Very very high. Brands have to learn this lesson the hard way.
    2] We had a situation where an employee went rogue with a client. She had access to a lot of web based as (not the social media thankfully). And all passwords like to the common drop box etc had to be changed.
    another great technology would be a program that could control all the access so passwords can be changed really fast.
    Lastly most companies don’t hire people with formal contracts because it is harder to fire at will when a contract exists in the US. But having a formal signing of something that could lead to being sued or jail is a good deterrent.
    as for LMV what a bunch or morons hiring a 21 year old for that position. Short their stock today!

    • @HowieG Excellent analysis. Why was a 21 year old given the keys to your public communications? This exposes what I see as a much bigger issue- companies are hiring these very young, green “Social media managers” based on their knowledge of cool. Really, these should be communications professionals. I shouldn’t focus on age- I couldn’t see a 21 year old Gini pulling a stunt like this. So age aside- these should be people who are trained and trustworthy when it comes to customer communication.

      • HowieG

        @RebeccaTodd I think @ginidietrich would agree bankruptcy court or not THAT COMPANY can’t go cheap in hiring people. I mean they are a top tier luxury brand you can’t skim on pay or talent. Maybe that was a big sign of why they are struggling?

    • @HowieG I was just reading that 1Password will let you share accounts and login information with a team, but not actually give them the password. So then you can change it quickly should something like this happen.

  • It is scary, and I promise I won’t go rogue!! I’ve seen this happen with Marc Jacobs too. It’s why you need a responsible, professional manager in charge of your social plan, not an intern or 20-something without any business experience. I don’t know how many times I’ve written that in blog posts! intersting fact though…In @Jasonkeath community manager report (  the average age of community managers continues to increase. Maybe some businesses are learning?

    • @yvettepistorio  It KILLS me when I speak and a business leader tells me they have an intern or college student running their social. I always ask them if they’d let that same person take an important client golfing without a supervisor. If the answer is no, I ask them, why on earth, they’re not supervising the person’s social media efforts.

  • Keena Lykins

    Poppy is 21. She grew up with social media and the idea that the private is public. She and her peers (say 7 years in either direction) post photos, comments, links, etc., that we older and wiser (and probably more paranoid) folks wouldn’t. One of the first mantras I learned was never be photographed with a drink in your hand. Now some will post photos with kegs, bongs, etc. and think nothing of it. It’s a living experiment as to whether it will affect their careers.
    We applaud protestors who use social media to organized rallies, air a regime’s dirty laundry and bring change to their country. We write editorials against the powers that be when they shut down accounts or the Internet. On a smaller scale, Poppy used social media to shed light on what she thought was unfair treatment. I am not defending her actions, but in all this talk about passwords and protecting accounts I think the bigger issue is company executives need to understand that their actions will be under social media scrutiny regardless of who holds the keys to the account and embrace transparency.  This is a cautionary tale for us to take back to clients, reminding them that the best defense against bad PR is transparency and to do the right thing. 
    But it’s also a reminder to know where the keys are just in case.

    • @Keena Lykins I don’t disagree with what she did. If anything, I kind of love her cajones. But it did give me pause to think about the process we have in place here and with our clients. I’m pretty savvy with this stuff and could shut it down very quickly, but that doesn’t mean someone couldn’t get out a few rogue tweets first.

  • jenzings

    No matter how locked down a company’s social accounts are, it isn’t enough. It’s more important to know who you have hired, if for no other reason than many people will have personal accounts too, and they can do just as much damage there, especially if they are quasi-personal/quasi-brand accounts. An example? Well, let’s take my Twitter account. It’s a “personal” account inasmuch as I set it up with my name. But I use it primarily for work, the people I’m connected to are predominantly work-related, and my bio shows where I work. But it isn’t our official channel. I’m quite certain I’m not the only one who has this setup.
    A person set on doing damage via social channels will be able to do so. The only thing that you can really do is: a) know who you are hiring: temperament, maturity, etc. are key; b) do what you can to manage official channels; and c) crisis plan, for everything, even if you think you will never use it.

    • @jenzings And I would add d) understand how all this stuff works so you can take action immediately.

  • jenzings

    PS–I’m just going to throw another thought out there that relates to this. If you are a company (and there are many out there) that is hiring based on Klout scores, pay attention to this situation. Many of those high scores are built on personal accounts that you won’t be able to control–so the social maven that you hire because of their social media activity may well have just as much influence to knock you as they do to benefit you.

    • @jenzings Great point!

      • HowieG

        @RebeccaTodd  @jenzings any company that hires based on Klout scores will not be around very long. A smart applicant will walk away from there…no run away. If they are a publicly traded company short their stock now.

        • @HowieG  @jenzings If only I knew what “shorting stock” actually meant.

        • HowieG

          @RebeccaTodd  @jenzings shorting is betting a stock will fall in price. When Facebook IPOed I had been telling people to short the stock for a year prior. To make it easy:
          Facebook is trading at $42
          I borrow 100 shares from my broker and sell them at $100 each
          I agree to return the shares say in 1 month.
          1 month later stock is at $19
          I buy the shares at $19 and give them to my broker and I just made $23 a share.
          This is how fortunes are made. It is also how companies collapse and world currencies collapse. Most of the big collapses (Europe, Asia Financial Crisis, Latin America, Housing Market) happened when big bets started being placed against something because investors can see who is using smoke and mirrors.
          Hey @ginidietrich who do I send my invoice too for adding premium content to your blog? $18.99 is a steal for you…per word of course.

        • @HowieG  @RebeccaTodd  @jenzings Amen!!!!

  • Why oh why did she have to be 21!
    As someone who is 22, I hate to read things like this because it makes us 20-somethings all look bad. Employers already assume we’re non-professional, and this makes it even harder to prove yourself. At 20, I had the same role as Poppy and would have never thought to do such a thing. I actually still have access to all those previous accounts.
    I just hope people don’t make this about her age.Her responses were very well thought out and she clearly has an understanding of the power of social media. I’m not defending her actions, but I do not think her actions was due to her age.

    • @stevenmcoyle I feel like her responses were a transparent attempt to justify her actions. I do not believe that that was her intent when she tweeted from the HMV account- do you? I think she acted very immaturely, then tried to make it seem like she had put thought in to her actions. Thanks for this comment, though. I started to go on about her age below, but then realized that isn’t the real issue. I would not have done this at 21, and neither would any of the successful people that I know. Kudos to you for reminding me of that.

      • @RebeccaTodd I do agree that her responses were a “cover-up” for her actions. Reading them I still would be apprehensive of working with her. I’m not sure what she hoped to achieve when tweeting from the HMV account. It seems a little misguided to want to provoke change by bashing a company you claim to have been “loyal” to.
        Thank you for seeing this isn’t an age thing, it’s really a her thing.

        • @stevenmcoyle Well I really don’t think Gini would have done this at 21. Nor would I, nor would you. So we shall keep age out of the matter from here on in. Instead we will just call it immaturity- sound good?

        • ifdyperez

          @RebeccaTodd  @stevenmcoyle Yes. It’s an immaturity/unprofessional-thing. I wouldn’t have done that either at 21 because I had long-term goals for my career. And this goes for anyone in any position at any age who doesn’t lash out and burn bridges on their way out of a position. Maturity and professionalism. I think those are two questions to inquire about when hiring new staff.

    • @stevenmcoyle Understanding the power of social media and understanding social media for business are two radically different things.  I think that her actions are a prime example of that.  
      I agree that age isn’t equal to maturity, but junior level employees often do lack business sense and an appreciation for their responsibility to the companies that they represent. However I agree with you &  @RebeccaTodd that it was an immature response, but not one that cam be blamed on age.

      • @HeatherTweedy  @stevenmcoyle  @RebeccaTodd Understanding social media and its impacts is very much a corporate responsibility. The sad truth is that companies are still in the dark. They can’t action hiring policies esp. with social media unless they understand it themselves. It’s like the blind leading the blind. And when something goes wrong they scramble to fix it. YES I agree understanding communications, branding, customer service etc. are necessary in these types of community roles. But first, the companies need to get educated.

        • @hessiej  @HeatherTweedy  @stevenmcoyle Exactly! Handing over the reigns to your outbound communications without understanding what you are doing is not a wise move!

      • @HeatherTweedy  @stevenmcoyle  @RebeccaTodd I sympathize with her and I don’t want to turn that around and condemn her individually now just to respond to the age conversation, but I was laid off (empathetically, kindly, with a focus on what I’d done for the company) at 21 and still had admin privileges for the company’s website for the rest of the organization’s relatively short life before it failed entirely. Never touched them. Most of my friends who are twenty-somethings would do exactly what I did: Laugh at the fact that they had forgotten to turn it off, briefly fantasize about revenge, then move on with the job hunt.

        • @jelenawoehr  @HeatherTweedy  @stevenmcoyle Excellent point, Jelena. I know of many mature young professionals, and immature “old” professionals (quotes because I am quickly becoming “old” myself). This is about personal ethics, not chronological age.

    • Keena Lykins

      @stevenmcoyle  I think her age is a factor only that 20-somethings look at what appropriate for social media differently than some of us who are older.  No, not all 20somethings would post what she did nor would all 40somethings NOT post what she did. Anyone can ‘go rogue’ although my questions are did she see it as going rogue or did she just tweet without thinking about the implications?

      • @Keena Lykins I don’t think a professional 20 something looks at what’s appropriate for a business social media platform any differently then a 40-something. She claims to have done it on behave of her co-workers because unlike them “she had nothing to lose.” Does that mean this going rouge thing was a group effort? Only they can answer that. I just feel that if she was in her same position at 31, then she would have done the same thing. She made a conscious choice to post what she did. I agree that it was wrong of her, but I feel it’s unfair to assume majority 20-something think like she does.

  • I’m going to add a 4th thing, which is a rant I was forcing @KenMueller  to listen to me about yesterday. It is time that companies wake up and realize that every person you allow to be the ‘voice’ of your organization is in a very powerful position, thus hiring decisions should be treated accordingly. Just because someone knows how to tweet or post messages to facebook, doesn’t mean that:
    a) They know anything about communications, branding, positioning or messaging
    b) They are a responsible ambassador for your company to put it’s trust in.
    And yet, over and over again these companies make hiring decisions based on a desire to keep costs low and hire inexperienced candidates to fill these important roles. As someone who is currently on the job hunt and has been told a half a dozen times in the past couple of weeks that I was not an ideal candidate because of my ‘over qualification’ for their position, it is mind boggling.
    It clearly shows that although companies are (sometimes begrudgingly) seeing the need to have a digital communications strategy and team, they don’t quite ‘get’ the fact that their digital communications are quite possibly the loudest brand message that they send.
    So, until they do we will continue to see cases like this, which at the very least are amusing….however….

    • @LauraPetrolino I can attest to the fact that, yes, this rant did happen.

      • @KenMueller Thanks for that Kin (hehehe) I can think of nothing more horrible than people thinking I was lying about ranting! I appreciate you being my alibi. I also believe we have a transcript (in case anyone doesn’t trust Ken…since he has been known to lie about winning the Pulitzer Prize)

      • HowieG

        There are two sides here. I just had an exchange with gracecleere who called me out for the point of having someone so young with the keys to your public voice. In that case any big brand is crazy for doing so. That said HMV is in bankruptcy. Usually it happens because of poor upper management. So hmvtweets  being here today with @ginidietrich roves that.
        The second side is a company with most likely inept upper management doing things that are crappy to their employees.We don’t know the inside story. poppy_powers does. Maybe upper management lived like kings and queens and treated employees poorly. You can’t stop employees from tweeting blogging etc already. But the social media folks could easily out them on official channels that never existed before. Maybe that would teach managers to be better managers?

    • I’d also like to add that the vindictive side of me secretly hopes that one day I read an article like this about some of the companies that have recently given me the overqualified line, so I can pull a “Pretty Woman’ on them
      “Hi, you might remember me, I applied for your position a while back and you turned me down because I was ‘overqualified’?, Yeah…well big mistake…BIG, HUGE! Ok, well I must now go off and continue making some other more savvy company awesome…ta ta” 
      Just like that and strut away in a cute hat!

    • patmrhoads

      @LauraPetrolino  Oh my gosh, can I like this about 20 more times? I’ve made this same rant before, and likened the person posting to social media as a spokesperson holding daily press conferences. A smart company wouldn’t send someone they didn’t trust out to speak to the public via the (traditional) media, so why do they think it’s ok to do via social? Apparently, they just don’t see it as the same thing, which I Just. Don’t. Get.

      • @patmrhoads Exactly!!! There is just still such a disconnect and it is sooo aggravating!! In fact I’d say it is possibly even worse since at least the ‘face’ of the spokesperson is attached to their actions, where as in social most of the time it truly just is the brand that gets associated, since the ‘spokesperson’ is often faceless. People weren’t ‘seeing’ Poppy, they were seeing HMV…..arrrgggghhhh <enter me throwing my arms around in Sicilian fits and stomping loudly>

        • patmrhoads

          @LauraPetrolino That’s a really great point about the ‘face’ of the spokesperson. It’s also then much easier afterward for a company to distance themselves from that person if they totally screw up.

    • @LauraPetrolino  You kill me. LOL!!

  • As a community manager I’ve always thought that a company should have an internal employee as it’s social media spokesperson, because after all, who knows your product better than someone that works with you. But as I see more and more cases like this one, I can’t help to think that outsourcing your community management might be a wiser idea. This way you have complete control of the items that are posted, there is no conflict of interest and all communication remains confidential. If anything this is a great case study for all of us that offer that service to our clients.
    Regardless  of how many companies are flocking to the HMV tweep, what she did is still ethically wrong, even if she wants to make it look as if it was a warning to people that still don’t understand the power of these tools.

    • @Rodriguez247 Except…when you outsource it like Chrysler did and you have a rogue tweet with the F bomb in it. I’m not sure there is a perfect answer. I guess it just depends.

      • @ginidietrich The rogue tweet could have come from someone internally as well. The big difference is having someone that is not directly affected by the company’s decisions, so that their message remain brand focused. The HMV tweet fiasco could have been averted by having it outsourced, the rogue tweet could happen to anyone that is not paying attention to what they are doing… both instances are related only by the medium, but are very different in occurrence. However, as much as this makes a great case for outsourcing, we stand that companies should have an internal individual well versed in Social Media.

  • bobbiklein

    I think people need to be sure who they are trusting to handle their brand’s social media accounts. Social media is your storefront online. Even if one person is running it, there needs to be another person checking in from time to time to make sure this PR scare does not happen.

  • Roxiexoyymi
  • eveypistorio

    @ginidietrich Lol!! Someone had to 😉

  • OK, I’m gonna say it: I feel bad for her and, although I don’t agree with her actions, I think the employer is partly at fault. It does sound like they didn’t understand the importance of social media–and the fact that they had one junior employee in charge of it solo proves that. The Marketing Director didn’t know how to access the company Twitter account?! 
    Obviously there are big things wrong with HMV. The company is failing and bankrupt. Watching a company you love and believe in fail is agonizing, especially when the cause is mismanagement so outrageous it’s clear even to the most junior staff that the company could have been saved. (I’m extrapolating here and projecting a bit, but there IS that little thing about the Marketing Director not having the Twitter login… if that’s exemplary of management at the company, draw your own conclusions.)
    Someone like Gini doing a layoff would be able to make clear to even a very upset employee that their work was genuinely valued and that the decision is an absolute last resort. I know, because I was laid off at 21 by someone who has Gini’s empathy. And someone so easily disgruntled that even that kind of kind, empathetic, as-fair-as-possible layoff conversation would have driven them to hijack the company Twitter… well, Gini probably wouldn’t have hired them in the first place.
    It sounds like a large group of employees were let go in an inconsiderate and sudden way that didn’t offer any acknowledgement of their individual efforts. They were made to feel like numbers — or like failed X Factor auditions, according to the rogue tweeter. She was still wrong (mostly because it sabotaged her own future) to go rogue, but I feel really badly for her and her colleagues.

    • @jelenawoehr I don’t disagree with you…I don’t like how it sounds like they were all let go. And I kind of think it’s awesome how she tweeted about it as it was happening. I love marvelous train wrecks like this. I really didn’t think it was worth writing about until I read Yvette’s post yesterday and freaking out about the controls that need to be put in place.

  • This is so wild; sometimes I think I live under a rock because I didn’t hear anything of this until I came to my primary newssource – spin sucks.  Oh wait, I do live under an instarock, that explains it.
    As for future rogue Arment Dietrich staffers, I’m sure dozen’s have already pointed the finger at Lindsay, so there’s no need to pile on.

    • HowieG

      @TonyBennett no tony often many social media outrages or brand bungles i never hear about unless @ginidietrich blogs it. She should take on Mashable.

      • @HowieG @ginidietrich I like where you’re going, we’ll call it spinnable… Cuz that sounds better than suckable

        • belllindsay

          @TonyBennett  @HowieG  @ginidietrich I think we better trademark “Spinnable” Gini. Cause, yeah, the alternative kinda…er…sucks.

        • @belllindsay  @TonyBennett  @HowieG  @ginidietrich Heh suckable…

    • @TonyBennett I’ll keep you updated. Don’t you worry.

  • Gracecleere

    @howiegoldfarb Oh good lord I hope you can see what you ‘sound’ (read) like. ‘Little girl?’ Really? I don’t intend to read your mid-life

    • howiegoldfarb

      @gracecleere you are kidding right? i don’t need to respond you have humiliated yourself on your own.

      • Gracecleere

        @howiegoldfarb You took the words right out of my mouth. Pathetic man.

  • Gracecleere

    @howiegoldfarb crisis blog. HMV were never a ‘billion dollar brand’. No experience in life? What planet are you living on? Some 12 year olds

  • Gracecleere

    @howiegoldfarb in this world have more life experience than 30 somethings. I’m going to assume you had/have mother issues.

  • Gracecleere

    @howiegoldfarb I hope she and you are proud of what a ‘man’ you have become. #Hysterical

  • wagnerwrites

    You are so right that it’s impossible to understand how employees will act under this kind of intense stress. Years ago, I “survived” a large layoff at a technology company but while we were sitting around waiting for the hammer to fall, my colleague confessed that if he found out he was going to be laid off, he would just wipe his hard drive. (This was before there were sophisticated tools to recover data.) I was shocked. He was a very straight-laced, religious, financial analyst – the last person you’d think would do something like this. But he was also newly married, had just bought a house, and had been attracted away from a good job to take this one. So yeah, for a short time, he was really dangerous.

    • @wagnerwrites I can imagine that’s not an uncommon feeling. I once had to let someone go and she went into the kitchen and starting pulling out dishes and throwing them on the floor. You just never know…

      • belllindsay

        @ginidietrich  @wagnerwrites Gini, you said you would tell people about that.

  • wagnerwrites

    Also want to mention that the communications director of my largest nonprofit client was fired last year and they couldn’t access their YouTube account for many months. YouTube wasn’t very helpful. Fortunately, they had access to Facebook because I had insisted they create multiple admins.

    • @wagnerwrites That’s one of those things you have to get the “keys” to before any severance is paid.

  • PattiRoseKnight

    I strongly suggest a qualified person be in charge of a company’s social media networks but at the very least I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay involved if you have a junior person handling your social media networks.  A reputation is just too important in my opinion.

    • @PattiRoseKnight As Warren Buffet famously said, “If you lose money for the firm, I will be understanding. If you lose reputation for the firm, I will be ruthless.”

  • charitychap

    @zoeamar how interesting that they use it to say “keep passwords from disgruntled employees”, not “don’t disgruntle your employees”!

    • Skipinder

      @charitychap @zoeamar Interested too in the phrase ‘If you insist on giving access to social media to junior staff’. hmmm

      • charitychap

        @Skipinder @zoeamar ha! Exactly. I suspect the audience is senior and has experience of laying people off, not social media.

        • zoeamar

          @charitychap @skipinder Also raises interesting question of disgruntled employees flaming organisation from personal Twitter accounts….

        • zoeamar

          @charitychap @skipinder ……not a lot you can do to stop that

  • HowieG

    So I am very confused. I for some reason thought HMV was a french luxury goods retailer vs a dying chain of stores that sells CDs AKA Blockbuster/Music Warehouse etc.
    What 21 year old hot shot goes to work for a company like that? One everyone knows is dying? I mean who buys CDs these days? What 21 year old?
    This is a bizarre story @ginidietrich  And no @belllindsay you can not have them as a client. LMVH different story 8)

    • belllindsay

      @HowieG  @ginidietrich Omigod. LMVH!!?? I would DIE! (more for the booze than the bags, if I were being honest) 😉

  • Nice share keep up the good work. Increased my Knowledge + Confidence.

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  • This should also be a lesson for people who “outsource” their social media posting such as pro footballers. You should never give anyone direct access to your social media accounts. To be safe you give their application (you mentioned Hoosuite) access, so you can revoke it if needed.

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