Making use of unrelated trending topics on Twitter to promote your business or personal tweets is behavior anyone with any Twitter courtesy knows to be spammy.
Using Twitter to shamelessly self-promote? That’s not really too looked down upon, depending on the proportion of plugging to other content. Using a catastrophic event where people have died, and hashtags are even being used to coordinate locals involved in unrest or in the midst of a disaster? That’s a bit more… gross.
Kenneth Cole, both a designer and a brand, is probably looking for a new social media coordinator after the above tweet appeared in their timeline a few hours back. (Habitat UK, a home furnishings brand, fell into the same trap in the summer of 2009.)
The tweet reads:
Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo -KC
If you’re not a Twitter user, what makes the practice so offensive is that it’s not just a tone deaf crack about current events, nor an insensitive joke about world politics. It’s an attempt to piggyback off the popularity of an event in which people have died and gotten injured, Anderson Goddamn Cooper has gotten hit in the face and shit has essentially gotten very real, merely because it is one of the hashtags or terms displayed on everyone’s main page.
The part where everyone is mad at Kenneth Cole, or Kenneth Cole’s social media person, is pretty much over- Twitter has moved on to satirizing the poor taste of the Kenneth Cole Cairo tweet with the account- of course- @KennethColePR.