This is not just the downside of social media marketing. It’s ignorance to the max.

For those who haven’t heard already, some shitty online clothing retailer took advantage of the fact that Aurora was trending on Twitter because of the horrific shooting that occurred at a movie theater there, and used it to market their “Kim K inspired Aurora dress” in the most self-absorbed, atrociously insensitive tweet I’ve ever seen.

The tweet was up for over an hour before they realized their mistake and took it down. It may not seem like a long time, but in this day and age, it may as well have been a week. It spread like wildfire and the outrage it caused in the Twitterverse is still going strong. They issued an “apology” stating that their PR team is not US-based and they didn’t bother to check out why the topic was trending before they thoughtlessly assumed it’s about them, but that sounds more like a flimsy excuse than an actual apology to me. I’m not India-based but I still followed the 2008 terrorist attacks there obsessively for the 3 entire days that they went on. I don’t even have cable TV right now and I still know the latest public word on the investigation. Are you telling me that not one single member of the entire PR team had the common sense – or the desire to do their job well – to click on the Aurora hashtag and see what it was about? Did no one notice that “James Holmes”, “Colorado”, and “theater shooting” are also trending topics?

Yeah, no. I’m not buying it. And if that really was the case, then somebody needed to get fired hours ago. I’ve been in the social media marketing and public relations biz. I know how how much caution has to be taken and diligence has to be done before even the most seemingly inconsequential of posts becomes public. Clearly, Celeb Boutique’s foreign PR team didn’t observe even a fraction of that, not to mention that they also associated another celebrity with the company’s tweet.

I feel embarrassed and ashamed for the company. They can tweet an apology worthy of an Oscar if they want, but that’s no way to fix this. It is crucial for them to somehow make a human connection that will remind them that the things we see on Twitter and the Internet actually mean something. That means going beyond donating money by doing something that will directly help ease the suffering of those people.

I wish I could do that myself. Of course I send my sincerest condolences and prayers out to those who have been victims of this tragedy, but sitting around and thinking good thoughts has never been my way of showing I care. I’ve always thought that if people truly want to make a difference, they’ll go out there and do something. I guess I’ll just start by writing about it and showing my support. I urge all of you to do the same. Keep checking back here for more information as things develop.

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