MHB WEEKLY: By the students, for the world

Lessons in Social Media: Guitars United | October 6, 2010

All companies, no matter how big or small, need to learn the ins and outs of Facebook, Twitter and whatever new sites will dominate the future cyber landscape in order to survive. This is why Juicy Juice has a Facebook page; it’s why “tweeting” is something humans now do perhaps more than birds, and why Shaq is an online hero (sample tweet: “Dam I just saw tom brady…Dat dude is beautiful lol”); and it’s marketers have specialized in examining these social media trends to develop expertise in how their companies can use them to an advantage — because if they don’t, they might end up regretting it.

A perfect example is the infamous United Breaks Guitars video, which J.D. Lasica sums up perfectly over at Social Media Biz:

The [United Breaks Guitars] inci­dent has gone down as per­haps the ulti­mate self-inflicted cus­tomer rela­tions screw-up by a major cor­po­ra­tion in the social media era of empow­ered cus­tomers. The orig­i­nal video has been seen 8.8 mil­lion times since it went live a year ago and is the 12th most-watched video in the his­tory of YouTube…All in all, [it’s] great fun — and defin­i­tive proof of how social media has shifted the bal­ance of power toward cus­tomers and away from arro­gant multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions.

Here, in all its glory, is the video uploaded to YouTube by Dave Carroll after United Airlines busted his guitar and refusing to comp the cost of a new one.

Keep reading for an exclusive interview with Carroll, who’s now flying all over the country to give keynote speeches at major social media conferences. One can be fairly sure he takes American.


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    Established in 2009 at USC, the Master's of Science in Human Behavior is designed to equip students with knowledge of consumer psychology, social media and market analysis skills. This is our blog. Subscribe

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