An analysis of Twitter’s screwup (with comments from Melissa Agnes)

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Twitter screwed up and wrote everybody’s passwords to a file in plaintext. Then (of course) they apologized. Can we do better with these apologies? And what’s the fallout from this incident? Here’s an analysis and a conversation with Crisis Communication expert Melissa Agnes, author of Crisis Ready. This is getting routine. And that’s the problem. At … Continued

KFC answers the question: when are you allowed to be funny in a crisis?

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KFC ran out of chicken in the UK. They had to close their restaurants, and then explain themselves. They decided to poke fun at themselves . . . which is great, so long as nobody gets hurt. KFC suffered a distribution problem, which meant, basically, no chicken. Their first decision — to close the restaurants … Continued

P&G’s lame response to the “Tide Pod Challenge”

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Idiotic teenagers are eating Tide Laundry Pods; poison control centers have reported 39 cases already in January. Procter & Gamble, the company that makes the detergent pods, had responded. I salute its social media response, but the CEO’s statement is tepid. Let’s address one thing right off: failing to talk about this problem isn’t a … Continued

What Apple should have said about slowing down iPhones when the batteries wear out

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After news reports revealed that Apple was slowing down older iPhones with worn-out batteries, the company posted a public message to explain itself. It also offered to replace your battery for $29. This statement is clearer and more transparent than most corporate statements after missteps, but not up to Apple’s usual standards. Apple attempts to … Continued

Mario Batali apologizes for groping women with a comforting cinnamon roll recipe

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I thought I’d seen everything in sexual harassment apologies . . . until I saw one from celebrity chef Mario Batali that actually came with a recipe. Last week the Washington Post published an article about Batali that included a slew of documented instances of the chef making lewd suggestions to employees and others, and … Continued

Patreon founder delivers a sincere and effective apology, rolls back its fee changes

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Patreon, a crowdfunding site for artists and creators, screwed up with an ill-conceived attempt to change how it charges fees. Now its co-founder Jack Conte has admitted the company’s mistake and asked for a do-over. His apology is sincere, human, and effective. Learn from it. According to Patreon’s blog, its original fee structure had resulted … Continued

Al Franken’s self-serving exit speech

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I’ve enjoyed watching Al Franken in the Senate — his was a witty and consistent voice. In the wake of accusations that he sexually assaulted women, he is resigning. His exit speech was evasive, self-serving, and inappropriate for a man who had demonstrated integrity in his service as a senator. After eight women accused him of … Continued