Microsoft social media company policy

Microsoft's Latest Social Media HeadacheOn Thursday, a then-unknown Creative Director at Microsoft Studios named Adam Orth had what he thought was a harmless Twitter conversation loosely about Microsoft’s anticipated (yet unannounced) new X-Box with his friend Manveer Heir, a developer at Bioware. He spoke candidly, informally, and briefly. By Friday, a reddit user named MrWill4466 discovered the conversation and to a gaming section of reddit with three million subscribers:


What happened after was completely predictable and easily preventable. A firestorm of bad publicity hit Microsoft over the internet, eventually reaching Microsoft Chief of Staff for Interactive Entertainment Business Aaron Greenberg who had this to say:

ImageHeir actually defended Orth and claimed that he was trolling him with some of the more derisive comments. Orth apologized and locked his Twitter account, probably praying that he’d fade back into obscurity. Logic would dictate that if you’re prone to making stupid comments, you should protect your tweets. Unfortunately that same stupidity will probably prevent you from protecting your tweets before it’s too late, as what happened with Orth.

Social media gaffes will always happen, but they’ll always be avoidable, even in a company the size of Microsoft. No doubt that they had a whole book of social media policies already in place, but you don’t run a fire drill once and assume everyone will remember what to do. Employees need to be reminded of policies; not necessarily constantly, but regularly. Otherwise, things like this happen. Take this opportunity to review your own company’s social media guidelines with your employees, and make sure you schedule check-ins every once in a while. It’s a lot easier than cleaning up messes like this.

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Hald is careful to differentiate his company from social media monitoring solutions, which he says only let you know that there is a discussion about the company in social channels.

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Popular Q&A

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Which law firms are leading the way with social media?

It is often smaller firms who are most innovative as there is less administrative overhead to trying new things. CM Murray LLP in London, England are a good example to look at for best practice. We wrote a case study about them recently. You can access it here:

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