HMV staff backlash on Twitter

If you’re going to fire your social media team, you might want to remove their Twitter access first!

Earlier this month, HMV (a British entertainment retailer) went into administration. Not only are our high-streets losing a much-loved brand, but many job losses are inevitable. Today, the social media team confirmed this, and not in the manner their PR Manager would appreciate.

Using the hashtag #hmvXFactorFiring, staff have been live tweeting (using  HMV’s official account) from HR, where they were told they were losing their jobs. Saying they have nothing to lose, they made it perfectly clear how they feel about it.

The tweets stayed visible for 25 minutes before they were deleted, presumably by the Marketing Director who was apparently overheard saying “how do I shut down Twitter?”

On February 5th, Our Social Times is hosting a free webinar on “How to Effectively Manage a Social Media Crisis“. It now seems more relevant than ever!

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UPDATED:

A woman named Poppy Rose has claimed responsibility for the tweets, saying that “as a someone without a family to support/ no mortgage, I felt that I was the safest person to do so”. It also appears that she is cooperating with @hmvtweets and this morning she even offered them instructions on how to remove her as an admin (16 hours after the tweets started).

According to her sister, Poppy has received a  number of job offers following the stunt.

Poppy Rose claims responsibility for HMV tweets

Storified by Our Social Times· Fri, Feb 01 2013 01:39:52

To war! #doomsday http://pic.twitter.com/ibl4eFS6Poppy Rose
We’re live tweeting from the HR firing session, this is so exciting! #hmvXFactorPoppy Rose
We’ve all been fired, in a group, of 50+ people! And those who ruined the business are safe…hooray! #hmvXFactorPoppy Rose
It’s been an amazing two and a bit years with hmv! (Only 1 & 1/2 officially) Such a shame it had to end on that note. Someone had to speak!Poppy Rose
I would apologise for the #hmvXFactorFiring tweets but I felt like someone had to speak. As someone without a family to support/no mortgagePoppy Rose
I felt that I was the safest person to do so. Not to mention, I wanted to show the power of Social Media to those who refused to be educatedPoppy Rose
Just to set something straight, I did not ‘hijack’ the hmv twitter account. I actually assumed sole responsibility of Twitter & Facebook -Poppy Rose
staff up as a manager on Facebook, and removed myself from the admin list. I didn’t resist any requests to cooperate.Poppy Rose
Since my internship started, I worked tirelessly to educate the business of the importance of Social Media – not as a short-term commercialPoppy Rose
tool, but as a tool to build and strengthen the customer relationship, and to gain invaluable real-time feedback from the consumers thatPoppy Rose
have kept us going for over 91 years. While many colleagues understood and supported this, it was the more senior members of staff whoPoppy Rose
I hoped that today’s actions would finally show them the true power and importance of Social Media, and I hope they’re finally listening.Poppy Rose
Now, I should probably go and hide for a while…Thank you so much for your supportive tweets! Much love to the hmv staff & customersPoppy Rose
@hmvtweets you need to go to ‘settings’ and revoke my account access as an admin. I’m still able to switch between accounts.Poppy Rose

14 thoughts on “HMV staff backlash on Twitter

      1. Richard Hughes

        Entertaining, yes. But ultimately unhelpful, because it perpetuates the idea that use of social media is a PR-disaster-in-waiting, and may well discourage companies from engaging properly. e.g. the “how do I shut down Twitter?” comment.

        Reply
          1. Jeremy Taylor

            Also a good point. We constantly emphasise that for social media engagement to work, you need to trust the people on the front line and they need to be free to express themselves. This could make that a more difficult argument to make. That said, maybe HMV simply didn’t have much of a policy in place and weren’t too concerned about who it was doing that engagement.

      1. Richard Hughes

        Thanks for the link – I enjoyed your article, and it made me think, when she says…

        “I hoped that today’s actions would finally show them the true power and importance of Social Media”

        …she certainly seems to have done that. But in a bad way, demonstrating the negative power of social media and the importance of governing it carefully, not the positive power for customer engagement. In a way, she has proved all her social-sceptic management right. Was she being brave, clever or stupid? Rather naive, in my opinion.

        (although I must add that I completely understand the frustration and disappointment that must have led to it)

        Reply
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