E. L. James’ Disastrous Twitter Q&A Demonstrates Why Social Media Sessions Are Risky

Social media Q&As are some of the most unpredictable publicity ploys.

E. L. James, author of the wildly popular (and als0 much-maligned) Fifty Shades of Grey series, took part in a Twitter Q&A yesterday, and the results made two things abundantly clear to us:

  • We are clearly not the only people who felt the books were poorly-written glorification of a disturbingly abusive relationship under the guise of BDSM erotica
  • Social media Q&A sessions are among the most unpredictable publicity ploys out there.

Unlike a formal press conference, social media Q&As offer the potential benefit of allowing writers, celebrities, athletes, etc. to interact directly with their fanbase, thereby creating stronger bonds and fostering a positive public image. The flip side of that coin, however, is that also unlike a formal press conference, no one is controlling who can and cannot enter the conversation–which, as we can see from E. L. James’ unfortunate and thorough bashing on Twitter yesterday, isn’t always worth the risk.

Here’s what happens when non-fans take over the conversation and hijack your hashtag (which seems to be almost EVERY TIME):

And then there was this one:

We imagine her publicist is somewhere asking his/herself the very same question.

Can we maybe just stop doing these Q&As, then?