Skip to main content

Communication lessons we can learn from the HPB’s tweet bleep

I was quoted by The Straits Times today on Singapore Health Promotion Board’s tweet bleep. 

You can read the full article here (Subscription needed).


There are some communications lessons we can learn about this incident.

However, before we go there, there is a need to highlight that Twitter still serve an important news channel to today’s digital generation. The reason why some followers tweeted negatively about the incident because of the perceptions that we have of governments, squeakily clean and polite, which some of you might disagree.

As such, if you are handling a government or even a brand Twitter account, be sure what you say to the public is what you want the public to hear. In this case, it was a technology snafu but the reaction was quite predictable.

Separation of State and Church

This bleep in the tweet was probably the result of somebody forgetting to switch account from HPB’s to a personal one.

It is unavoidable that we have personal accounts but the lesson learnt here is how do we unsure we don’t get blinded by this confusion.

There are suggestions that different browsers be used for personal and brand account. Or even different Twitter apps for each account.

I suggest that you do your personal social networking and updating on your personal devices and your official accounts on your work devices.

With smartphones and tablets becoming more common these days, use your personal devices for your personal account.

This will reduce the chances of a wrong tweet entering the wrong account.

My parents told me not to spew profanities. This is a reason why.

The F*** you tweet was probably meant for the handler's friend and some friendly banter.

But if you are really looking to be a communications professional, maybe the best advice is that you shouldn’t be spewing profanities to your friends, especially online.

Besides that fact that the Internet never forgets, there is also muscular memory in action too.

If you keep typing the F-word, there is a tendency for you to also type it out because your muscles in your fingers have been doing it for the last 100 tweets.

Cut the profanities!

Learn how to communicate when technology snafus occur

When the ST journalists called, he might a rather strange comment that agencies he spoke to were not looking to answer his question as social media was no longer a story.

This isn’t a case of bad social media but rather a technology snafu that embarrassed a brand.

Most agencies today will say “Hey, let’s not dignify this with a response”. In yesterday way where information is only available in print and broadcast, no news maybe good news.

Unfortunately in today Search world, a response is probably what most public will be searching for. 

Without a proper reply, it creates even more misperceptions about the brand.

For example,  I blogged about it and most of the readers are coming to the site searching for HPB post. The way the Internet works is that not just Singaporeans will see the post, but the whole world that is connected to the Internet.

Not dignifying with a reply means that the views are coming from one side and it could create the perception that the Health Promotion Board isn’t aware of it anyway.

Yes, though the newspaper picked it up but because it is only accessible by subscription, not many will be aware of how HPB reacted to it.

Interesting, the social networking generation isn’t really concern about the bad news. Bad news happens everyday and it also helps to sell the papers. Bad reviews are also unavoidable.

The social networking generation is more interested in how you react as a brand.

Look at all social media snafus. If you delete a post which criticize a brand or gives a bad review, you get more negative impact than your brand should be getting.

But if you get a bad review or negative comment, but you react positively to it, you get positive comments.

The game here isn’t to hide negativity, but how you deal with it.

For example, there are some concerns on the Taggo Facebook Page over the concerning of sharing their LIKES to everybody.

We addressed such comments that Facebook users can still get their normal discounts but if they can be indentified as a fan, they get more discounts.

Furthermore, we have also highlighted that we tried the various privacy options for the likes but the other options wouldn’t allow the identification of fans. We also shared that we respect their rights to privacy and it is their choice to link or not to link their credit/debit/transit card to their Facebook account.

We left the post there together with our reply. So far, we haven’t got any negative response and we turn negativity to a somewhat neutral.

The communications game today is about how your brand reacts to negativity as nobody’s perfect.


Popular posts from this blog

Why is Ramly Burger banned in Singapore?

Yahoo Singapore ran an article of the Ramly Burger by highlighting that it is ban in Singapore.

Yet, the writer from Makansutra failed to address the most important issue of why the Ramly meat patty is banned in Singapore.

A search online easily did highlight that the famous Malaysian meat patty is banned by the AVA but didn't go into details.

Wrote Arlina Arshad for The Straits Times in January 2004,

"But the importing of beef and beef products from Malaysia is not permitted, said theAgri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).

Selling and supplying them without a permit is also an offence, and offenders can befined as much as $50,000 or jailed two years, or both, said the AVA."

In May of the same year, another article highlighted that a man was even charged in court for "smuggling" the Ramly burger in 2004.

"The AVA said that meat products processed in Malaysian food factories which it had notapproved were banned here.Suzali was yesterday jailed for four month…

Those Who Gamble Online Have Poorest Control - NCG Survey In 2012

Singapore will soon exempt local operators, Singapore Pools and Turf Club, from online gambling ban and the sites will be ready in November 2016.

Ministry of Home Affairs explained that a complete ban on remote gambling drives demand and activities underground, and may create larger incentives for criminal syndicates to target Singapore."

Yet in a 2012 survey by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCG) found that those who gamble online have the poorest control.

For those who indulged in online gambling, 30.4% said they gambled for a longer period than they planned to, 33.3% gambled with more money than they planned and 29.2% gambled more frequently they planned to. 
Will launching the online gambling sites be like opening a Pandora Box that will create more issues in the future?

A Very Small Chicken Or An Oversized Popcorn Chicken?

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Singapore Facebook Page recently received a complaint of the size of the chicken being served at KFC.

Barnabas Ng took a photo of his chicken from KFC which showed it to be almost the size of the KFC small container. It also looked like a an oversize popcorn chicken.

Wrote Barnabas,

"Hi KFC, is this your new standard size for a chicken? I order 3 piece meal and 2 pieces including this so called original recipe chicken is smaller than the size of the cap of ur small mash potato.

Have you guys try to cut cost so much that you are offering half a size chicken pieces for a full price meal? It is just getting from bad to worse"

KFC Singapore did reply to Barnabas for him to PM his mobile number but Barnabas has yet to receive any calls from KFC Singapore, as of this posting.

Maybe chickens are also shrinking with the current climate change?