By Rob

How @CharlieSheen, @RedCross and @TheAcademy are using Twitter – the good, the bad, and the ugly

In the last week we’ve seen some great examples of how brands have managed their message successfully (or not!) on social media, even when they can’t fully control the conversation. Following on Geoff Livingston’s Good, Bad and Ugly meme, here’s our take on some recent notable usages of Twitter.

Charlie Sheen: UGLY! It’s like a traffic accident you can’t avoid staring at.

If you haven’t seen Charlie Sheen’s recent interview on Good Morning America, you’re part of a select 1% of the American public.

In the days following the interview, other stations also interviewed Sheen, subtly framing him as crazy and out of control. Since then, Sheen’s taken the reins of his brand by skipping the media and communicating directly with the public through Twitter (with lots of twitpics!).

He took control of the conversation, and he’s now subtly transformed his brand from “out of control pariah” to “fun with a touch of crazy”. He’s gained over a million followers in just a few days, and we hear that brands are lining up to leverage his exploding popularity. In fact, even the Red Cross is engaging with Sheen.

Red Cross: GOOD! They used humor to recover from a drunken tweet while simultaneously supporting their mission.

The Red Cross had an incident recently that could have left them with a bad taste in their mouth for tweeting, but they’ve shown they know how nonprofits can effectively use Twitter and have fun at the same time (even while #gettingslizzerd). They rebounded from what initially seemed like an embarrassing, drunken mistake and leveraged it to support their mission. Their recovery plan showed that they had a sense of humor (and garnered a good chunk of donations at the same time).

We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.
Wed Feb 16 05:40:01 via ÜberTwitter

American Red Cross

Academy of Motion Pictures: BAD! Even if the show wasn’t a success, an adequately snarky Twitter strategy could have helped to more effectively guide the conversation.

The Oscars, unfortunately, weren’t quite as skillful at engaging with the Twittersphere. While nearly 400,000 people tweeted about the Oscars, the vast majority weren’t complimentary. While Charlie Sheen and the Red Cross have been able to steer the online conversation, the Academy Awards twitter account allowed antiquated PR rules to govern their posts on Twitter. As a result, they had no impact on the online dialogue and the conversation turned against them.

While most nonprofits will want to be a little less radical than Charlie Sheen, they should also be hesitant of being as conservative as the Academy. If you’re still working on finding your voice, maybe you could try following the Red Cross for inspiration?

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