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JPMorgan's #TwitterDon't
By: Jennifer Graber
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JPMorgan has been in the limelight recently for its alleged scandalous business practices. The banking giant is at the center of several Justice Department investigations, including: bribery in Asia, its associations with Bernie Madoff, mortgage bond practices, and trading loss reporting. Let’s just say, JPMorgan isn’t at the top of the public opinion poll. So, great time to do a live Twitter chat session, right? Eh, maybe not so much.
The bank had the right idea when it decided to host a question and answer session. JPMorgan asked users to Tweet questions out by using the hashtag #AskJPM. The bank wanted to hold the live question and answer session to reach out with leadership and career advice from a top executive. Again, nice idea, but the banking company got more than it bargained for. And what followed was a slew of negative Tweets.
Some examples of the Tweets received by JPMorgan include “Can I have my house back” and “Is it true JPM stands for Just Pay More”. Other examples include “Did you have a specific number of people’s lives you needed to ruin before you considered your business model a success” and “How many homeless people did you create in ‘08”. Overall, the Twitter feed for the question and answer session had amassed over 24,000 posts in the last day or so. JPMorgan took to its Twitter account shortly after to cancel another session, admitting this was a “bad idea” and it would return to the “drawing board” (at least it has a sense of humor).  It probably was not a good day to be working in JPMorgan’s PR or social media department.
What went wrong? Why did this seemingly great idea backfire in such a short amount of time? Two possible catalysts for this #TwitterDon’t are timing and unpredictability — but mostly timing. JPMorgan is embroiled in a very public battle with some allegedly very scandalous activities. The bank has made some enemies within the consumer sector. It is always a very delicate and tricky balance to have any public communication amidst any sort of issue.
Also, the world of social media is wildly unpredictable. You never know what will come from allowing consumers to openly comment or question a company. And once the words are splashed across the digital world it is incredibly difficult to retract them or control them. JPMorgan unleashed a feeding frenzy with itself as the shark bait.
Having said all that, it is important to note that not all social media communication is bad. In fact, if done right, it can be a wonderful opportunity to interact with consumers in a meaningful manner. It just has to be executed with the greatest amount of control with the best possible timing. Kind of like finding a needle in the haystack.

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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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