A Lesson In How To Commit Social Media Suicide

Those of you who are “on the edge”, who just don’t care anymore, who would delight in seeing the company you represent online burn in marketing hell for committing crimes against humanity, please leave, I don’t want you getting any ideas. For the rest of us “normal ones” who just want to hear about the worst thing you could ever do, and something none of us intelligent BBAM students would ever do, read on:

Applebee’s – how to commit social media suicide.

I know this is something we have all heard about, and if not, shame on you for being so socially unaware. Let me give you some background…I will refrain from using terminology to describe how I feel about this human…. actually, screw it, this is my blog and blogs are about freedom of expression and as a student moonlighting as a waitress three nights per week, i’m going to throw it out there. This self righteous douche bag left this note….

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If you’re one of those people who don’t “believe” in tipping, please leave, seriously… I don’t want you here. JK, I love any one and everyone who reads my blog, but… let’s talk about this tipping thing one day okay?

ANYWAYS, this “pastor” (and I use quotations because this person will likely burn in hell for being such a douche) left a poor waitress that lame note. Another employee of Applebee’s posted that note to Reddit, where it got major attention and got back to the formerly mentioned douchey pastor (also, what the heck!? As a Pastor you should be bettering the world, not exploring Reddit so strike two for you).  The server who posted the picture was subsequently fired. Lamesauce * 10.

Applebee’s claim on this, is that, the waitress violated customer privacy rights… people did not take kindly to this. Social media outrage ensued, One lawyer even offered to represent the waitress pro bono for wrongful dismissal. Serious business.

Part two of this digital suicide example is going to be demonstrated with a photo essay

Numerous “boycott Applebee’s” groups popped up on Facebook, along with “Rehire Chelsea Welch” and similar other groups. To make things worse, the Applebee’s website has a “What’s the Buzz” widget which conveniently shows what people are saying on Twitter about the company, shortly after the poor decision, it was non stop attacks, all publicly displayed on Applebee’s own page. How nice.
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On February 1 at 3pm, Applebee’s joined the fun and made a status about the “situation”
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by midnight, the status had over 10,000 comments on it, safe to say, most of them negative.

in an interesting twist, a few weeks prior, Applebee’s had actually violated their own “privacy policy”, the one in which the server in question was fired for violating, when they posted this photo:
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The photo was removed shortly after this story went viral, however, “If you cant afford to tip” got that lovely screen shot.

Facebook users were going cray cray showing that photo all over the internet, using it to call B.S on Applebee’s “rights to privacy”.

by 2 a.m there were over 17,000 comments on the original status post. Then things got really wild… at 2:53 a.m, whoever is in charge of Applebee’s Facebook page STARTED TO MAKE COMMENTS ON THEIR STATUS UPDATE. Um yah. At 2:53 in the morning. So, in response (not as a new update, I may add, but as a comment on the original status) the following statement appeared… it has been broken down into two segments so you can get the full effect.

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(Bravo!)

I would say that this is the exact moment in which Applebee’s pulled the hypothetical trigger. Commenting on your own status, in the middle of a PR hurricane disaster, at 2:53 in the morning, aaaand *BANG* 

Intelligent commenters were quick to point out that this needed to be posted as it’s on post, and not in the comments thread of an old one, or it would quickly become lost among the thousands of posts.

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just to add to the already horrendous pile of crap that Applebee’s has thrown themselves into, the entire evening, Applebee’s is allegedly deleting negative comments as well as blocking people from their page. Since Americans are a culture so used to, and accepting of censorship, you can imagine how this is going over.

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Then, the highly educated individual behind Applebee’s social media comments in the original thread, comments again, and on top of that begins tagging individuals in the comment, then pasting the comment, with tags, over and over and over and over again. Surprisingly, people are not taken with the repeated tags and “copy and paste” style of apology. THEN, it seems that Applebee’s is getting frustrated as well and beings tagging and ARGUING with people.

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A short while after, Applebee’s has a moment of brilliance and suddenly decides to post a new status update, rather than repeating their same comment over and over again.

The following day, the original post by Applebee’s which had almost 20,000 comments on it and so lovingly portrayed the social media melt down, was deleted, along with all 20,000 comments. The wonderful thing about the internet, as well know, is that the internet never forgets. The scorned, censored people of  America are now furious and waste no time in reminding Applebee’s of the horrendous social media crime they have committed…

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…so, yah, that happened. Now Applebee’s outright lies… well played.

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among the thousands of furious commenters, one stood out among all

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I could go on, and on, but you get the idea by now, Applebee’s really, really dropped the, apple, here.

Honestly, my mind goes a mile a minute thinking about this. It is outrageous in every sense of the word. Several articles have made it known that the already inconsiderate Pastor demanded the server be fired, along with “everyone else working that day’ see here and here. So basically, it comes down to a company who would rather lose an employee over a rightly embarrassed customer.

All things in mind, this is what I’ve learned from this whole incident.

  1. Applebee’s PR department sucks
  2. Applebee’s HR department sucks
  3. Applebee’s food sucks – actually, I knew that before.
  4. Applebee’s doesn’t give a crap about their employees
  5. Is this really a big deal?

Say what!? Is this really a big deal!?, well yah, it is a big deal but what I mean to say is, what happened? After quite a bit of searching “where is Applebee’s now”, “What happened to Applebee’s after Cheslea Welch”,  “What happened to Chelsea Welch”, “Applebee’s lawsuit Chelsea Welch”, “Did Applebee’s lose revenue after Chelsea Welch” etc… nothing comes up.  So, i’m beginning to think, in a world where companies eff up daily, where social media scandals happen way too often and where everyone is looking for their “15 minutes” does something like this really matter in the end? Sure, a lot of individuals have a scorned view of Applebee’s but in a years time, this will be (most likely) completely forgotten.

Now that’s something to think about, when a Company screws up THIS badly, it’s pretty unbelievable that it can so easily be lost among all the other companies who screw up that badly.

Now, let’s all have a moment of silence for Applebee’s and their hopefully fired PR team (don’t worry though, we all know they will be fine in the end… probably working at an Arby’s somewhere).

sources

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/02/06/applebees_refuses_to_rehire_waitress_despite_online_petition_for_chelsea_welch.html

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022321933

http://spinsucks.com/communication/six-tips-for-managing-an-out-of-control-social-media-crisis/

and the most largest of thanks to R. L Stollar at R.L Stollar, journalist, for supplying the above photos and assisting me in putting together the time outline. 

http://rlstollar.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/applebees-overnight-social-media-meltdown-a-photo-essay/

One thought on “A Lesson In How To Commit Social Media Suicide

  1. I like #3 the best. LOL! As you know, I also dissected this on Spin Sucks, but what I’ve learned since then is this isn’t their first big social media crisis. In fact, their PR department does suck and no one on their leadership team seems to care. It’s offensive to me, but hey…what can you do?

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