It’s never too late to talk about social media mishaps; they are happening all the time!  The latest one to flood the internet: Adam Richman being under-educated about #Thinspiration.  Not everyone is aware that the term is associated with eating disorders, often used to encourage less than healthy or safe ways of losing weight.  Don’t stop reading there!  This blog isn’t about healthy weight; it’s about healthy social networking!

Richman, former Man V. Food star of Food Network, is excited to share his new physique (having lost 60 pounds in the past year) with Instagram followers.  He posted a photo of himself wearing a now oversized suit that he’d ordered a year ago, followed by the controversial tag.  He was not expecting what followed.

Some assumed that Richman didn’t know the meaning behind the term (they would be correct), and educated him so he could think twice about using it.  Others were quick to judge and ridiculed Richman. The TV show host attacked back, taking it way too far with way too harsh words.  The harshest: “Grab a razor blade and draw a bath. I doubt anyone will miss you.”  This is the line that coverage focused on.  Well known journalism hosts like TIME Magazine, CNN, and Huffington Post spread the word!

The incident has not only overshadowed Richman’s new project, Man Finds Food, but it has indefinitely postponed the premiere! His current Wal-Mart commercials are more likely to get the response “Isn’t that the guy who attacked his fans on Instagram,” rather than “Oh! I could go for a burger! Where’s the nearest Wal-Mart?!” And we’re guessing he won’t be a spokesperson for long!

So how can your company or brand avoid such a mishap?

1.)    Educate yourself on hashtags!

With so many terms out there, it’s not easy to know the multiple meanings behind them all!  It’s okay to blush and rethink your tag!

2.)    Take the high road.

If you’re using a tag incorrectly, it’s easiest to put your tail between your legs, admit you were in the wrong, and apologize. This will most likely end any controversy.

3.)     Remove the post!

You don’t want that mess on your profile for future ammo! It’s like begging someone to hang your underwear from the summer camp flag pole… but in social media terms!

4.)    If the responses keep coming after you’ve apologized and/or removed the post, DO NOT REPLY!

You’ll be the only one to blame for relighting that fire!

What could have easily been solved in minutes, turned into a s**t storm (to keep with the language of the story) that will go into the time capsule of social media “whoops” cases!