Monday, October 22, 2012

How to Avoid a Twitter Fail

Last week, Eva Longoria retweeted a dirty tweet.  I'm not going to put it here.  Go Google it if you haven't heard of this.  After you crawl out from under the rock you're living under.  Sadly, she used the Weiner-esque excuse of "My Twitter account is being hacked."  Not a smart move.  Nobody believed her, and now she's fallen victim to her own Twitter Fail. She should have known that the "hacked" excuse wouldn't fly.

I'm not an expert in lying, but in a past life I worked in advertising and marketing.  There's significant overlap between advertising and lying. Don't believe me? Go watch an infomercial at two in the morning. If you see a guy trying to tell you how to get rich in real estate or anything with Kevin Trudeau (just Google him too, I don't feel like putting in a link), then you'll see what I mean.

One of the rules we were mindful of in advertising is the Law of Diminishing Returns.  Here's how it works in advertising.  If I place an ad in a particular newspaper, or send junk mail to a particular neighborhood, I'll get responses from a chunk of the readers of that paper (well, I would have in the day that people read newspapers) or the residents of that neighborhood.  If I repeat this, I'll get some people that I didn't already have, but not as many as the first time.

As with advertising, the law of diminishing returns applies to lying.  A lie is less effective the second time it's used than the first time.  Therefore, if the first guy to tell a particular lie became a laughing stock and was forced to resign in disgrace, one cannot expect better results using the same lie.  However, there are ways to dance around a Twitter Fail that are far more effective.

Method 1: Blame it on a dead guy.

Many Twitty-types use an iPhone to tweet, despite the fact that they barely know how to use an iPhone.  These devices are relatively new technology, so people using them wrongly is still quite common.  Improper use of an iPhone can result in all sorts of mayhem.  Just go see Damnyouautocorrect.  And I am providing a link to that.  Because it's awesome.  Well, most of the time.  So all you have to do is pretend that the invisible hand of Steve Jobs reached from beyond the grave and bestowed his wrath upon you.  Suddenly your Twitter Fail became an iPhone fail.  We've all done that at least once.

Method 2: Blame it on outsourcing

It's well known that various rich and famous people don't manage their own Twitter accounts or blogs or whatever.  They just hire some tech-savvy kid to handle it for them.  If you're rich and famous, just blame the fail on the 14 year old kid you outsourced to.  Then fire him.  Granted, this increases the unemployment rate.  But if you're using proper outsourcing, this only increases unemployment in India.  That doesn't have quite so much political baggage as increasing American unemployment.  Unless it's considered racist.  You never can tell.  Almost anything could be considered racist these days.

Method 3: Oops!

Granted, "oops" is a higher risk solution.  Rick Perry tried it once, with somewhat disappointing results.  But a well placed "oops" can solve all of your problems.  I once had a co-worker give this excuse: "I meant to go to sec.gov, not sex.com!"  He actually avoided getting fired.  It wasn't implausible.  The "C" and the "X" are right next to each other on the keyboard.  And we've all mindlessly typed in ".com" when we meant to type ".gov", ".edu". or ".org" at least once.  We all mis-click a mouse or fat-finger something on a keyboard every now and then. 

It's worth noting that this is a little different from the iPhone Fail solution.  In that scenario, you blame new technology and your own Noob status.  In this case, the excuse is a mis-click or a typo.  The mouse and QWERTY keyboard aren't that new.  If your actual problem is that you haven't figured out these ancient technologies, please kill yourself.  Now.

It's all about believability.  Everyone with an iPhone can relate to the iPhone fail.  Everyone with fingers can related to a mis-click or a typo.  And we all know that famous people outsource their tweets all the time.  But we're not buying the Twitter hack thing.  We've heard that lie before.  It's best to tell a lie that we can relate to.  Unless you decide to own up and apologize.  Nah, that's a crazy idea.

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