In my last post, I talked bout the power of social media on a personal level as it relates to St. Cloud State University choosing to eliminate homecoming. I had a short anecdote I wanted to include, but omitted due to my goal of keeping posts at 500 words or less. The anecdote was about a typo I had on a Facebook post for KVSC on homecoming being eliminated at SCSU:
“Top story at kvsc.org today: St. Cloud State University to climate Homecoming.”
Not sure what “climate” homecoming is all about, but people started making fun of the typo almost as soon as it was posted. Although the headline was posted as KVSC, I was the one behind the typo (or auto correct more specifically). So once it was called to my attention, I had to make a choice: remove the original post (also removing user comments) or own up to my mistake with a personal remark.
Being a PR guy, I felt it was important to be transparent and admit the goof up. So I simply replied to the post (with my name and face next to the comment) and made a little joke out of it with a reference to damnyouautocorrect.com.
Many social media experts believe it is important to always put a face with a company status update. Personally, I feel it depends on the type of post. Posting an article that is “trending” on your site should not require a face behind the post. However, if there does happen to be a typo, whoever made the error should own up to the mistake.
Lastly, just as a reporter should never remove an article with a factual error, a company should never remove a post or tweet with a mistake. It is much more professional to admit fault. Plus, admitting your mistake can only create more impressions and build credibility as a reputable source of information.
Thankfully, this was merely a typo and not anything offensive. Some celebrities and journalists alike have made “jokes” on Facebook or Twitter that have turned out to be quite offensive and created backlash from their followers. Check this article out to learn of a larger-scale mistake and how Kim Wilson suggests handling a “Twitter Faux Pas.”
I should mention I had a mistake in my last post as well. When I omitted the part about my mistake, I left a sentence in that was completely out of context. It was up for a few hours before I noticed it. Can’t even remember what it was now. Did I just break my own rule of owning up to mistakes?
5 thoughts on “PR in Social Media: Owning up to Mistakes”
I agree…on that last post we maybe should have mentioned the mistake. I’m sure a lot of people read it before it got fixed. On a lighter note…this is the first post I haven’t had to point out a typo. You’re getting good!
Nice post Wheeler. If you can change a small typo before anyone notices or comments, it is like it never happened. I don’t think changing mistakes after the fact is a big deal. However, changing facts – because of mistakes – is a big deal.
This reminds me of a blog I posted [ http://collegetocareer100.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/yellowhighlights/ ]. I made a mistake and owned up to it. We’re human. We make mistakes and well, since it was an auto correct error, phones and technology are not perfect either. Own up to your mistakes. It looks better than ignoring them. Especially when they’ve been pointed out.
Yeah, I read that post. That must have been pretty embarrassing! You’re right in that it is better than ignoring a mistake. Once it’s been pointed out, you might as well show a little humor and own up.