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October 07, 2010


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See the sad thing is that you never know what REALLY went down in these cases, because usually the individual is careful with what they said... or bound to secrecy. Like the Best Buy dude who made the iPhone Evo parody... did he "quit" or "get quitted"?

Nathanael Boehm

Interesting story - loved the video - but employees should not believe that by simply avoiding mentioning their employer's name in tweets will protect them ... nor should they avoid mentioning their employer.

I'm a well-known twitterer in my workplace and several people including previous managers monitor my twitter stream and blogs and other online presences. I've also had several tweets that have specifically mentioned my employer picked up by the social media monitoring team and end up on the desk of senior managers - but so what?

I haven't done anything wrong, no one's told me off, I haven't breached any social media policy or guidelines ... it's just what it is and I think it's good that so many of my colleagues are interesting in what I write online because I like to think I have something interesting to say!

So people shouldn't let this story scare them but they should be wary not to pull stunts like Kid Fury :)

Paul Dunay

Sometimes common sense isn't common (as he says in the video)

Other than that I am seeing strong positive upside when Twitter integrates with the Contact Center

see my ATT example on my blog

David Meerman Scott

Thanks Nalts, Nathaneal and Paul - yes there are nuances to this story. But I love it because we hear from both sides. Not often that happens and I can blog it.

Tim Johnson

My first impression was, "What a dumb a$$. What did he expect?" but the longer he went on, the more it dawned on me this is a perfect testimonial for the power of a) a brand (his, and by association H&R Block), and b) Twitter itself.

If anyone still needs convincing, have them watch this video.

It's also the perfect testimonial for monitoring the social universe and for having emergency response systems in place. Crazy stuff will happen and it's best to be prepared for stunts like this.

Lil' Creole Pimp

Being one of the callers, that was the most fun I've ever experience whilst calling customer service.


That day was HILARIOUS. I didnt call but I watched it all go down on Twitter and this video revived my spirit. LOL I love Kid Fury!

E. F. Mutton

I would think getting sued by H&R Block for tweeting would be publicity gold for a blogger. Something tells me the ACLU would represent him...


What an asshole.

Why give this dipshit attention?
What a waste of Youtube.
Not everything in social media
is worthy of perpetuation.

You wonder why people are cynical?

Get out of the bubble.

David Meerman Scott

Thanks Lil' Creole Pimp & Kandi for jumping in. I wish I had seen it go down live.

E.F. - Yeah, no kidding. Getting sued would have been all over the place!

Ed - I am giving him attention because Kid Fury says his side of the story in a very interesting way. Here's a guy who has more than 10,000 followers. And then I also show what the company's perspective is on the same situation. I personally think this is fascinating so I talked it up.


There was an opportunity here for HRB to roll with it and turn it into a HUGE success story. Instead, they kinda come off as the bad guy. Can you imagine if they'd just told everyone to claim to be kid fury? Then they could've made the video with him! Talk about a hip and out-of-the box social media campaign.

HRB should notify everyone of their policies before they hire people, this was partially their own fault.


Thanks for sharing our story, David. When you reached out to me, we (H&R Block) were glad that you wanted to write a post about our "day after tax day" online snafu. I'm glad to see the lively discussion happening via comments.

Brands need to be listening online and make sure that all parties know that they are listening, responding and resolving. As Charity pointed out, brands need to let employees know about policies.

Associates, vendors and agencies go through a lot of information during our orientation including our online communication policy. The key takeaway for us was we need to communicate more often (not just at orientation) about the social media elements of our online comm policy. Each associate needs to know how the policy relates to their role and what responsibilities they have as brand ambassadors.

Thanks again!

David Meerman Scott

Thanks for jumping in Zena. And thanks for sharing the story with us.


Nicely done Zena!

David, I wanted to share this everywhere but I couldn't find any tweetbuttons or like buttons or anything like that.. might be time to add those maybe :)

Keith Privette

Do you think that the social media team has a responsibility to engage way before the crisis to build a good working relationship with employees that sometimes have a bigger presence than the brand. or I should say a different type of presence. This way the employees know who the team is and can start conversations and easily forward information back and forth. Social Media teams have to begin to build the trust and get out of the shadows of monitoring and attacking like the CIA when a crisis happens.

I think the people in the company that are good at all this stuff need to start collaborating regardless of their title and silo'd organization they are in. This will help to minimize the crisis' and explode the cross collaboration and pollination of ideas, initiatives and problem solving!

David Meerman Scott

Socialnerdia - I hear you. TypePad (my blog software) has some frustrating limitations.

Keith - I agree with what you say. However this one was a little different because Kid Fury had a personal social media presence and was not engaging as part of his job. The H&R Block people do have a policy and had worked with employees to communicate it.

sohbet odaları

thank you. .)

Chris Silver Smith

If the video accurately recounts the company's response to the issue, I think they handled it pretty well. I'm not sure but what it could've been handled without threats of lawsuits, but the overall outcome sounds good.

As for the ACLU getting involved, I don't think they would in this case. Free speech is tempered by responsibility - you don't have a right to scream "fire" in a crowded theater, for example. Likewise, if you do a prank that costs a company a lot of productivity and causes losses of revenue, you may be liable for civil damages.

I believe companies should allow employees to interact with social media, but employees should also expect that reasonable rules should prohibit them from causing major disruption for the employer.


Still seems like H&R Block has no sense of humor. It sounds like great viral marketing for them. Sure is wasn't the best decision but it certainly isn't as bad as the michigan attorney general's blog.

Daniel Kuperman

What an interesting story. I guess there are several lessons to it:

1. Educate your employees on social media and what's acceptable for your company

2. If you're a decent size company or if your customers are active in the social media space, having a social media monitoring group is a MUST HAVE

3. Never underestimate the power of a tweet

4. Never overestimate the level of common sense among your employees

5. In a crisis, keep your cool

It is also interesting to note that this was a great test for H&R Block's social media team. They were able to quickly identify the problem and track it to the source.

David Meerman Scott

Chris - I agree on ACLU.

Daniel Kuperman - Excellent summation. Thanks!

Sarah Gein
Robert Latchford

What is worse is the bigger companies that operate in silos who don't know what their different divisions are doing.

Controlling social media output from these type of companies must be extremely difficult

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