Dita De Boni 's Opinion

Business columnist, with a political twist, for NZ Herald

Dita De Boni: Twitter, twitter, twit

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Social media can backfire when the virtual world is the only one you know.

Illustration / Anna Crichton
Illustration / Anna Crichton

Until late last week, Aurora was just one of the Disney princess figurines littering our bathroom; a blonde, blue-eyed beauty modelled on the delicate features of Audrey Hepburn.

This week, of course, the word sums up almost everything we fear about the random nature of modern life. Aurora, Colorado, was no doubt a fairly typical city of just over 300,000 - until it formed the backdrop for one of the largest mass shootings in US history when James Holmes went on his rampage last Friday night.

There is one more Aurora that has garnered attention in the past week.

It relates to that high priestess of bling, Kim Kardashian, and a dress named in honour of her penchant for wearing the fabric equivalent of sausage casings to highlight her every curve.

The Aurora dress is a "white pleated V-neck strong shoulder dress" from virtual fashion retailer Celeb Boutique, and by buying it, says the store, you may "get Kim Kardashian's goddess-worthy look".

Despite the dress' promise to give you a tiny waist, enhanced cleavage and all-round super-sexy shape, it seems unlikely to deliver those things unless you have them to begin with. Most of us wearing this dress will look like fat-ankled sacks of flour.

But if the dress wasn't bad enough, the dopey PR/social media minder at Celeb Boutique committed one of the biggest Twitter boobs of the millennium when, last Friday night, noticing that the word "Aurora" was trending around the world, tweeted out "#Aurora is trending, must be about our Kim K inspired dress ;)".

The daft tweeter continued in this vein, all the while being eviscerated by Twitter followers who could not believe what they were reading.

After an hour of, let's say, insensitive tweeting, Celeb Boutique finally actually read the news headlines and tweeted an apology, only to follow with something every bit as foolish, in the circumstances: "It's a fabulous Friday, what are your weekend plans? #fabulousfriday".

The company has since bent over backwards to apologise, blaming "outsourcing" of its PR for the gaffe, and pleading for forgiveness in the same child-like language with which the original mistake was made.

It's possible the people who flock to Celeb Boutique to buy the looks of their favourite reality and pop stars may not care about a hopelessly misguided reading of the social-media sphere - or see it as an honest mistake.

However, it's far from the first time that the casual nature of social media has helped create an impressive cock-up. Last year fashion label Kenneth Cole tweeted that the Egyptian riots were caused by the company's latest collection. Richie McCaw's friend-with-benefits Nicola Grigg charmingly instructed everyone upset about the pricing of adidas rugby jerseys before the Rugby World Cup to "#gotakeash*t". The list goes on.

There's no doubt a company needs someone doing social media who understands the often youthful audience, but he or she still has to be connected into the goals, aims and "morals" of the company, and ideally be up-to-play with what's happening in the world beyond the keyboard.

There's no point sheeting off your precious social media function to twinkies and lightweights, just because they're under the age of 25.

On Show

Cartoons by illustrator Anna Crichton will be on show and on sale at Artoasis Gallery, Titirangi Village, from July 28 to August 10. Opening 5.30-8pm today. For opening times, call 027-408-2546 or glen@artoasis.co.nz

* Illustration by Anna Crichton: illustrator@annacrichton.com

- NZ Herald

Dita De Boni

Business columnist, with a political twist, for NZ Herald

Dita De Boni is a columnist, commentator and TV producer/journalist. She first wrote columns for the NZ Herald in 1995, moving to daily business news in 1999 for four years, and then to TVNZ in Business, News and Current Affairs. After tiring of the parenting/blogging beat for the Herald Online she moved back to her first love, business (with a politics chaser), writing a column for Friday Business since 2012.

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