Colorado Shooting Gets @CelebBoutique in Twitter Trouble, Company Apologizes

The Colorado shooting at a Dark Knight premiere last night left 12 dead, including a baby and child, and much of America woke to the horrific news as it broke on social media, as well as mainstream news sources.

Events like the Colorado shooting reveal the ever-ingrained role of social media in the reporting of news both via citizen journalists (many conscripted to the role by merit of witnessing news as it unfolds) as well as traditional media sources using services like Twitter to keep readers and viewers abreast of happenings in the most official way possible.

And as you know, the Colorado shootings quickly became a “trending topic” on Twitter as grief-stricken users and fans checked in on loved ones attending the premiere or followed the horrific news from the scene coming from moviegoers who witnessed the terror firsthand.

Trending topics allow for both users and readers to sort for important information, but they also enable tone-deaf companies to, through either ignorance or callousness, attach their product or service through a tragedy in a way that often appears flippant.

@Celebboutique found itself at the center of such an unlucky or imprudent occurrence due to the Colorado shootings, having tweeted an hour ago:

“#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress ;) Shop [link]”

The company just corrected their error, adding another tweet to apologize for inadvertently piggybacking off of the tragic Colorado shootings to sell dresses:

We apologise for our misunderstanding about Aurora. – CB

— Celeb Boutique (@celebboutique) July 20, 2012

We didn’t check what the trend was about hence the confusion, again we do apologise.

— Celeb Boutique (@celebboutique) July 20, 2012

The Colorado shootings are one of a few instances in which a company has found themselves caught out due to a trending topic with negative connotations. Entenmann’s experienced a similar situation with the “not guilty” hashtag when Casey Anthony was acquitted, and the company’s Twitter account posted a joke about eating baked goods without feeling bad.

Kenneth Cole’s brand did the same, tying a promotion to the deadly unrest in Egypt a while back, and Habitat UK also misused a trending topic during the Arab Spring, utilizing hashtags that described newsworthy events to promote items for sale.

@Celebboutique has apologized for their misuse of trending topics in the wake of the Colorado shooting, but the error again serves as a reminder to be very careful when managing your company’s social media promotions on such services lest use of popular hashtags appear to be insensitive.

UPDATE: @CelebBoutique’s Twitter manager has been tweeting like mad since the controversy hit, trying to ameliorate some of the offense on the site. The most recent multi-tweet apology reads:

“We are incredibly sorry for our tweet about Aurora – Our PR is NOT US based and had not checked the reason for the trend, at that time our social media was totally UNAWARE of the situation and simply thought it was another trending topic – we have removed the very insensitive tweet and will of course take more care in future to look into what we say in our tweets. Again we do apologise for any offense caused this was not intentional & will not occur again. Our most sincere apologies for both the tweet and situation. – CB”