Publicity over Compassion Twitter, one of the fastest growing social networks to date. Twitter has become more that just a way for friends and family to stay connected; it has become a major advertising resource for so many businesses, big and small. Of course it is! It is so easy to create a twitter account and its even easier to get people to follow your account, especially if it is representing a well-known brand. The use of social media sites has obviously been extremely beneficial for many companies, but how are we to know when things are getting out of hand? The corporate world has always been a very cutthroat place but where do we draw the line between whats right for a companies sales and whats morally correct for a company? Businesses today are much more focused on gaining publicity rather than being compassionate towards their customers and potential customers. How far are companies willing to go for attention? On July 12, 2012 the company Celeb Boutique sent out a tweet that sparked a slew of controversy and outrage; @celebboutique: #Aurora is trending, clearly because of our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress Clearly the #Aurora was referring to the movie theater shooting in Aurora Colorado as opposed to the Aurora Dress that Celeb Boutique is so blatantly trying to promote. The company appeared to have no sympathy towards the victims and the families of this shooting. Celeb Boutique defended themselves by saying that their PR department located in the UK was not aware of the shooting and they didnt research the reason behind the trending topic. While it may be true that the company located in the UK had not yet heard of the tragedy, it seems odd that PR department simply saw the trend and used it rather than investigating it further to see what it was about. Are companies so self involved that they will jump on any trend they can relate to their own merchandise? It is especially surprising that this occurred since their was an eerily similar tweet that was sent out by the Kenneth Cole Company in 2011 relating the uproar in Cairo Egypt to their new collection. Both tweets were obviously meant solely to promote sales and spread the companys names. Neither company meant to offend anyone yet their obliviousness and sheer ignorance about the situations were what caused most of the controversy. Its well known that with so many different brands out today it is hard to get your name known and popularized which is why so many companies use twitter to spread their brand; and by using popular hashtags they are able to relate their company to other topics of interest therefore widening their customer radius. What these companies fail to realize is that in order for that to work, the connections they make to other topics of interest need to be appropriate and relevant. Why would a company use a trending hashtag in a tweet when they were supposedly completely unaware of the context in which it was being used? Most companies wouldnt, I would assume. Which begs the question, was Celeb Boutique truly oblivious to the event? What if the company wasnt unaware of the situation? This could have been a marketing tactic to get their name out to the public. Before this event, I had never heard of Celeb Boutique, but I had obviously heard plenty about the shooting. By sending out such a controversial and potentially offensive tweet the company gained a lot of media attention, not positive attention but in the corporate world any publicity is good publicity. After receiving a lot of negative feedback and angry responses to the tweet they deleted it and issued several apology tweets to make up for their mistake. They could not completely take back what they said but they managed to explain their mistake and apologize to the public as well as promise that it would never happen again. So Celeb Boutique walked away from the situation scotch free and with a significantly increased public awareness of their brand. Hmm well isnt it convenient how things work out. What has happened to the retail industry that it has become acceptable to use such manipulative and cutthroat tactics to get ahead in the game? We all know that the economy is struggling and all but is it really all that necessary and effective to be going about gaining brand awareness in such vicious ways? It seems to me that companies, especially the smaller ones just starting out, have lost sight of what is really important. Gaining brand awareness and popularity and increasing sales is obviously the goal but being socially and culturally informed and aware is a big part of running a successful business as well. Showing compassion and sensitivity towards events such as the Aurora shooting is what shows the public that a company is not just a corporate money sucking monster, theres a softer more human side to the business as well and that is what keeps the customers coming back time and time and again.