HMV and the Inexorable Rise of Social and Digital

I suspect there will be few readers who haven’t heard about this afternoon’s Twitter jamming series of tweets from @HMVtweets under the #hmvXFactorFiring hashtag. The company eventually managed to access the account and delete the tweets, clearly oblivious to the fact that the damage had been done, the tweets screenshotted and shared, and everyone knew. And that you can delete tweets but hashtags often have a life of their own.

The tweets were sent by Poppy Rose, an intern. Here is her explanation – they came as a series of tweets but I’ve put them together in one piece…

“I would apologise for the #hmvXFactorFiring tweets but I felt like someone had to speak. As someone without a family to support/no mortgage I felt that I was the safest person to do so. Not to mention, I wanted to show the power of Social Media to those who refused to be educated

Just to set something straight, I did not ‘hijack’ the HMV twitter account. I actually assumed sole responsibility of Twitter & Facebook over two years ago, as an intern. When asked (this afternoon), I gladly provided the password to head office. I also set another member of staff up as a manager on Facebook, and removed myself from the admin list. I didn’t resist any requests to cooperate.

Since my internship started, I worked tirelessly to educate the business of the importance of Social Media – not as a short-term commercial tool, but as a tool to build and strengthen the customer relationship, and to gain invaluable real-time feedback from the consumers that have kept us going for over 91 years. While many colleagues understood and supported this, it was the more senior members of staff who never seemed to grasp its importance.

I hoped that today’s actions would finally show them the true power and importance of Social Media, and I hope they’re finally listening.

Now, I should probably go and hide for a while…Thank you so much for your supportive tweets! Much love to the HMV staff & customers”

Clearly it would seem that certain members of the management didn’t really get social. But then they didn’t really get digital either.

It was only a few weeks ago that this blog (written last August) from a former advertising advisor went viral too. After being warned, in 2002, that the company was facing threats from supermarket discounting, downloadable music and online retailers, the MD said…

“I accept that supermarkets are a thorn in our side but not for the serious music, games or film buyer and as for the other two, I don’t ever see them being a real threat, downloadable music is just a fad and people will always want the atmosphere and experience of a music store rather than online shopping”

It would be a shame if the narrative following today is about Twitter because it’s really about people having a voice – and it’s also about those who understand and embrace change and those who don’t.

Power to the people.


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