Another organization finds itself it hot water today as this Twitter post showed up on a university account at the University of York in England.
The school quickly deleted the tweet and issued the following apology on Twitter:
I have no doubt that the university is sorry…and mortified. It’s the excuse that is disconcerting. There are two major problems here, if their explanation is true. First and foremost, why would a non-staffer have access to a university account? Whoever has access to an account, even if they are an agency, is a representative of the brand. Saying they are not a staff member is really irrelevant. Unfortunately, it just makes the brand seem negligent. Second, the use of the word inadvertent implies that the fans and followers of the account don’t understand how social media works.
The post was not unintentional, nor was it unpremeditated, unplanned, or innocent just because it landed in the wrong spot. There is no such thing as an inadvertent post on social media. Inadvertent in this situation is often used to try and put a positive spin on a negative action, a hurtful action. I would much rather see brands say something like, “the person who posted this message has no business having access to this account. It was a mistake on our part and we are rectifying it immediately.” Don’t apologize for the action–apologize for the mistake you made allowing someone access to your account that is not a staffer and evidently isn’t trained in the responsible use of social media. It’s my hope that brands recognize the real issues and address them: educate on the responsible use of social media and limit access of your accounts to those people. If an agency screwed up, tell the public that, and then get rid of the agency. Apologies need to look more like confessions and less like excuses. Another example of why we need to Practice Safe Social.