If you have ever tried calling a social media company, you know it’s nearly impossible to get a real live human on the phone. The last time I was locked out of my Twitter account I was searching the internet for about 20 minutes just to get a phone number to call. Once I found the number, I immediately called it trusting it to connect me to someone who could help me get back into my account. People all over the world experience social media issues and hiccups daily, it’s almost impossible to even estimate the amount of phone calls that are made to these companies.
One person that could give you an Idea of how many calls social media companies daily is Matthew Hanson. Hanson was a senior at the University of Southern California when he received the guidelines for his final project in his “Strategic Writing for Public Relations” class. For this project, he was required to create an online newsroom for a company or product of his choice. If you have ever taken a PR class you know that most teachers give you the freedom to base your assignments off of real companies. His choice was Snapchat, the mobile app that allows users to send pictures and videos that disappear within a chosen number of seconds.
Using WordPress, Hanson created his project incorporating Snapchats important information. He posted the Snapchat logo along with facts and questions, biographies of the founders, contact information and links to other information. In the contact information section, he listed a fake email address as well as his personal cell phone number. Thinking no one would actually call him.
His project contained so much SEO optimization that this WordPress was appearing in the top search results for Snapchat on Google. You can probably guess what happens next, the phone calls. Not too long after his project was posted he was receiving phone calls left and right about Snapchat. Agencies, media outlets, journalists and upset users were flooding in like crazy.
Hanson is quoted saying, “I didn’t know what I was thinking publishing my real number on the internet” and “I never thought that anyone would find the site.” This goes to show you that when doing projects for class or practicing building sites online, you need to always add a disclaimer if you are not affiliated with the company. Another tip would be not to put your real contact information out there anyways, but we all already know that.
Hanson quickly took down his phone number and added disclaimers all over his WordPress. He told viewers that the site was created solely for a class project and that he is in no way associated or affiliated with Snapchat.
This story shows that school really does teach you how to be successful in the professional world, for a few days Hanson was Snapchats unofficial PR executive. Professors and employers don’t give us enough credit, especially in Hansons case because his project was only deserving of a B.