Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Silicone Bitch: Woman Bitching on Twitter Gets Ass Kicked Out of Restaurant

News and notes about the South Florida social media and blogging scene, with a little tech thrown in for good measure. And maybe some other random events, too.

An ethical question plus a tech event update for you in this edition.


This happened earlier this summer, but it has been on my mind since @nataschaos told me about the story.

A woman hanging out at a Texas restaurant got kicked out after she insulted the bartender on Twitter. The manager then called the restaurant, asked to speak with her on the phone and requested that she leave.
The basics of the story: Matsu, an avid tweeter who won a Houston Press Web award for "best late night twitterer," was out enjoying a beer or two (an Allagash to be exact) at Down House with a friend when she overheard a bartender mention Bobby Heugel, a prominent Houston bartender and restaurateur. Matsu told Eater, "I tweeted that I heard the bartender behind the bar at Downhouse quoting Heugel. I said he was a twerp and used #jerkoff."
-- read the full dirt at Eater Houston

I don't know this tweeter and I believe that if you have a popular following, you should have enough delicacy to avoid burning bridges with local businesses you patronize. As a popular broadcaster, you do have a responsibility to the community, especially if you're always out in the world.

I would have thought twice about insulting a bartender in a public forum, even if I had a personal beef with something he said. And the bartender, as well, could have been careful about what he was saying in public within earshot of customers. Nothing is private these days.

But this case raises some questions about customer relations. There is a social media lesson to be learned here.

Can a business really control what its customers say on Twitter any more than on online forums and social networks? Thousands of people can give you bad reviews, whether they be real-time on Twitter or posted after the fact on Yelp, Facebook, blogs -- the list is endless.

Are you going to ban them all from your restaurant?

What's the difference if someone opinionated is blabbing on Twitter?

There could have been a more elegant solution to this to avoid such a PR disaster. It's called a carefully crafted response to the complaining customer.

As well, maybe the customer was right to complain. What if the bartender was truly at fault here? Why not look into the complaint before kicking someone out of the premises? As a business owner, you should be able to turn this negative into a positive by responding to the complaint in diplomatic way and by investigating why the customer was dissatisfied.

The bottom line is this: restaurants shouldn't have their customers walking on eggshells if they choose to broadcast during their meals.

What do you think? Was this an appropriate response?


Mobile Monday is relaunching this Monday, October 3 to discuss mobile payments and commerce. The group meets at 7 PM at the Irish Playwright in Gulfstream Park.


Natascha OS said...

Hooray to Maria for bringing attention to this subject! Since I have been involved in Social Media, I have been following very closely diverse cases like this one... Do private ownership and personal privacy have "rights" in the very public Social Media world? Will there be laws passed to try and curb Social Media? Interesting times when two "private" companies ~ FB and Twitter are the channels of the most public of the world's interactions and conversations.

Johnny Mahoney said...

I was just on Eater and noticed the last line of the article ... and I quote:

" Moral of the story? Think before you tweet, and don't insult the bartenders at Down House on Twitter until you've already left the place ".

So this leads me to believe the writer of the article is taking the restaurant's side on this twitter tangle ??

Mike said...

We can all say whatever we want. Business establishments should remember, customers have the money. There was any number of ways to turn this into a positive. It would have received less play if they did not even respond even though this was not a negative review but seemed more like of a personal attack. Places with attitude think they can get away with this. I don't go to those places anyway.

Maria de los Angeles said...

Thank you for the comments.

Johnny - it sounds like it.