SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Roger Strukhoff, David Linthicum

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Four Hilarious Social Media Blunders Your Company Should Avoid

Social media mistakes can cost you big time!

The opportunities to embarrass yourself within the realm of social media is virtually limitless. After all, these are highly public platforms that tend to attract thousands (if not millions) of eyes. Here are a few hilariously distasteful and downright stupid social media blunders.

The Worst AMA in the History of the Internet

When Woody Harrelson's people set him up for an "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit, they clearly didn't explain to him what exactly that entailed. Maybe they didn't get it themselves. And he clearly doesn't spend much time on the Internet, since he didn't catch on early in the session. As questions started rolling in the actor repeatedly dodged any personal questions, and redirected others to shamelessly plug his most recent movie, Rampart.

As you can imagine, Redditors did not take well to the PR stint, calling him out for treating Reddit like a talk show interview where an actor can plug their latest gig. The Internet ripped him to shreds after the disastrous AMA, and left a lot of people scratching their heads.

The moral of the story: Know what you're committing to when you sign up to engage with people through social media.

Chrysler's Potty Mouth

When Chrysler's ad campaign began touting their cars as being "imported from Detroit," it was well received overall. The messages were clever, and some were even pretty serious tear-jerkers. They focused on the hard-working people of detroit and the rich history that comprises "Motor City."

Apparently one foul-mouthed employee of company that was handling Chrysler's Twitter account, New Media Strategies, was less than impressed with the city. In a tweet that was meant for a personal account, Chrysler's account stated, "I find it ironic that Detroit is known as #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f****** drive."

It was immediately caught and deleted, and New Media Strategies promptly fired the employee, and Chrysler fired New Media Strategies. The auto company apologized by tweeting "Our apologies - our account was compromised earlier today. We are taking steps to resolve it."

What did we learn here? Be mindful of who you let handle your social media accounts. And don't curse. It's important to keep a lid on your social media accounts, whether they're for personal or professional means. If having access to your social media channels on your Lenovo tablet laptop at all times is a risk for you, you may need to set limits for yourself, and always think before you type.

Kenneth Cole's Tasteless Tweet

Kenneth Cole Cairo tweet

In 2011, Kenneth Cole saw that #Cairo was trending on Twitter (this was during a time of serious social unrest in Egypt), and quickly tried to capitalize on it by tweeting "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo...Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available. -KC" The Internet was not amused.

The designer quickly apologized, citing a lifetime of personal dedication to raising awareness of social issues, and deleted the tweet.

What did we learn? Cole earned absolutely nothing, apparently. In late 2013, he tried to make light of the situation in Egypt by tweeting "Boots on the ground" or not, let's not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers. #Footwear." Again, he apologized, but didn't immediately remove the offensive tweet.

At least the rest of us can learn from Kenneth Cole's insensitivity: When you anger the Internet, you lose.

Wal-Mart's Fake RVing Blog

America quickly fell in love with Laura and Jim (no last name given), who were "Wal-Marting Across America." Their blog showed the couple driving their RV from Nevada to Georgia, staying in Wal-Mart parking lots each night along the way. They interviewed glowingly happy store employees who seemed to love their jobs, and were very welcoming.

Everything was going great for Laura and Jim. But then it became entirely too obvious that the sickeningly optimistic blog wasn't an honest effort by two individuals, but a highly coordinated, fully funded PR stunt by the firm hired by Wal-Mart itself called Edelman. The original idea sprouted by the couple, but the retailer took it and ran with it.

As you can imagine, people were upset. You might even say furious. This failed PR stint was done while social media was still in its infancy, and it still didn't take long for the world to smell the rat. The entire situation is pretty laughable. The idea that something so dishonest could be touted as reality to the masses is so insulting it's funny.

Lesson learned: Don't try to fool social media users. We're just too clever for that.

As you can see, there are a lot of misguided shenanigans that people pull online, and with social media particularly. Learn from these mistakes, go forth and conquer the world of social media.

More Stories By Calvin Sellers

Calvin Sellers is a mobile technology and social media writer from Tampa, FL. He has worked to create captivating content for clients in many niches. Follow him on Twitter @CalvintheScribe.

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