Subscribers to the Singapore Health Promotion Board’s (HPB) Twitter account must have received a rude shock when they saw a rude Tweet instead of HPB’s usual tweets on topics such as the flu epidemic and healthy living.
That tweet was quickly deleted and followed up by apology tweets from HPB, saying that the profanity was a mistake. It was human error. A staff member in charge of tweeting for HPB had sent the rude tweet thinking that it was from a personal account and not the company account!
In a way, HPB showed its maturity in how it dealt with the situation. Instead of being defensive, it apologised for the rude tweet (and I’m pretty sure the staff involved has been counselled). Many netizens also showed their maturity in accepting the apology. Instead of deriding the organisation (a government body no less), many were understanding of the human error on the part of the staff and accepted HPB’s apology.
But I’m sure that has not stopped the PR and corporate comms divisions of many other bodies from holding emergency meetings on the corporate use of new media, and using the HPB example as a cautionary tale.