Dogfish Head Trades Beer for Blood after Mis-Tweet

By Wesley Griffin | February 18, 2011 | 0 Comments |
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A Twitter mistake turns into a bloody mess? No, no, lower your social-media-as-tool-of-robot-takeover paranoia.  This is a hopeful story.

Millions of respectable, professional people drink beer, but Gloria Huang certainly did not mean to tweet about her alcoholic exploits to the entire Red Cross Twitter account. Just like a massive unintentional Reply-All, though, it couldn’t be taken back. All 270,000 followers of @RedCross received this message: “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head's Midas Touch beer...when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd.”  The term in question, if you’re confused, is slang for getting drunk and comes from a recent hit song called “Like a G6” by Far East Movement.

Twitter, a great arena of free public expression in very short bursts, has developed an increased amount of legitimacy during its maturation process. I recently read about a high school basketball recruit deciding to play at my alma mater, only to find out that the “verbal commitment” had come via tweet.

Along with legitimacy, though, has come scrutiny. Nir Rosen, a journalist who has written in the New Yorker, Time and the New York Times, tweeted some insensitive things earlier this week about CBS reporter Lara Logan following the attack and sexual assault she suffered during the political upheaval in Egypt. Under major heat, he has since resigned from his position at the NYU Center on Law and Security. Kenneth Cole also received round disapproval for a tweet suggesting the people in Cairo were in such an uproar because they learned about the online availability of his spring fashion line.

Considering all the commotion and distress that a few wrong words can cause, it’s uplifting to see what has unfolded from the accidental Red Cross beer tweet. The humanitarian organization calmly deleted the tweet and followed up with a lighthearted one. “We've deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we've confiscated the keys.” As it turns out, the rogue tweeter, Huang, hadn’t been drinking at all. She just made a mistake with a smartphone app called HootSuite that lets her manage multiple Twitter accounts, including her personal one where her message was intended.

Most saw an embarrassing accident, but Mariah Calagione – marketing genius behind Dogfish Head Brewing Company’s success – saw an opportunity. Recent snowstorms across the country had interrupted thousands of planned blood drives, and the Red Cross blood supply was at a critically low level. So she took the unintentional publicity her brewery’s beer had received and decided to give back.

Calagione re-tweeted the mistake to @DogfishBeer’s nearly 40,000 followers and also notified their nearly 150,000 Facebook fans, starting an online conversation that hinged on the Twitter hashtag #gettngslizzerd and turned into a fundraiser and blood donation drive. The encouragement was picked up by dozens of bars that serve Dogfish beer as well, as many of them offered discounts or free pints in exchange for proof that you gave blood.

A quick note, to those of you who will be tweeting while deep in the state of slizzer this weekend: it doesn’t always end this well. But for now, one organization with a heavy dose of perspective and one brewery with an eye for opportunity have paired well to help not only craft beer drinkers but also those with a much greater need: a life-saving blood transfusion.

Cheers!

Your choice. Your beer. Drink up.
-Beer Universe



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