Social Media, Public Relations and What Not to Do

Screen shot of Ice Cube and Chris Tucker saying "Damn!" in the movie Friday (1995)

Screenshot of tweet reading "Bye Felicia! Large gathering at [red redaction line] broken up. #dontinviteus2urparty #StPatricksDay #LdnOnt #lpffa" and two images of revelers and police
Screenshot of the deleted “Bye Felicia” tweet, address omitted.
To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the London Police took to social media, spending the day tweeting out funny images and updates around their “Don’t Invite Us” campaign to curb student rowdiness in the city. This was all well and good until mid-afternoon, when one tweet boasting the shut-down of a student party used the phrase “Bye Felicia” and included the street address of the house party. Upon seeing the tweet, my reaction went from “hehe” to “cringe” to “…yikes, that’s offensive” in the span of about five seconds.

While this may seem like an innocuous (cute? sassy?) inclusion of a popular meme, the tweet raised eyebrows around the city, largely rooted in the racial origins of the “Bye Felicia” meme and the flippant public shaming of people being fined by police. Intentionally or otherwise, this tweet is wrapped up in some complex racial history that left many with a bad taste in their mouth. Shortly after posting, the tweet was deleted.

Now before you get all huffy about PC culture, censorship, buzzkill-a-trons, this isn’t a blog about naming and shaming bad behaviour (…well, not exclusively). I think there is a more interesting story here about digital public relations and the pitfalls of meme culture in social media market in a nonprofit/government environment. Continue reading “Social Media, Public Relations and What Not to Do”

Tories have a strange sense of humour

Twitter bird staggering around drunkWhen is it okay to tell jokes about disability? While I think the disabled population is overdue for a good ribbing, hence launching a webcomic about life with a disability, perhaps it’s not the best call for a Federal politician to be the one poking the fun. Yep, the other day Stephen Woodworth, the Conservative incumbent for Kitchener Centre, decided to take to the Internets with his witty, witty humour, tweeting “Cop says to falling down man outside tavern ‘You’re drunk’ Man replies ‘Thank goodness’ Cop asks ‘Why?’ Drunk: ‘I thought I was crippled!’” It’s weird because normally when people see my wheelchair they ask “What happened? What do you have?” not “Seriously bro, how shit-faced ARE you right now?!” Continue reading “Tories have a strange sense of humour”