The National Rifle Association has shuttered one of its key Twitter accounts and hasn’t tweeted at all since finding itself in a social media stink last Friday during the aftermath of the shootings in Aurora, Colo.
One week ago, the NRA tweeted the following around 9 a.m. ET: “Good morning, shooters. Weekend plans? Happy Friday!”
Twitter users exploded with outrage over the tweet, which was posted via the account for American Rifleman, the NRA’s official magazine. Shortly after Noon, administrators for the @NRA_Rifleman account deleted the tweet.
More surprising, though, was the publication’s next move—deleting the account around 3 p.m. Poof! All of the American Rifleman's tweets were gone forever, and the same was true for the retweets the magazine inspired. The Twitter account had roughly 16,000 followers.
The NRA Digital Network’s other notable accounts—@NRA (31,000 followers), @NRANews (47,000 followers) and @NRAblog (13,000 followers)—have not authored a tweet since July 19, the day before a man used a semi-automatic rifle to kill 12 moviegoers and wound dozens of others who were waiting to see "Dark Knight Rises" in the Denver suburb. Leading up to the massacre, the NRA accounts were putting out between three and 10 tweets daily.
Since then, the NRA has stated that the “Good morning, shooters” tweet was posted by someone who had yet to hear about the Colorado killings. It’s certainly a believable explanation. The tweet was posted via Hootsuite, an app that lets Web publishers schedule tweets ahead of time.
The Fairfax, Va.-based guns rights group hasn’t respond to interview requests.
The NRA wasn’t the only organization that offended Twitter users on July 20. Celeb Boutique, a U.K.-based retailer, mentioned the tragedy in a tweet during that day’s early afternoon hours: “#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress 😉 Shop: celebboutique.com/aurora-white-pleated-v-neck-strong-shoulder-dress-en.html”.
Twitter legions responded nastily, and Celeb Boutique pleaded ignorance with a few follow-up tweets. Like the NRA, the fashion retailer said the tweet’s author was oblivious to the Colorado shooting spree.
Carree Syrek, chief strategy officer at Kinetic Social, doesn't approve of the excuse, adamantly stating that social media staffers for brands need to scan the news every morning to avoid this type of situation. “If you are not reading the newspaper sites," she said, "then shame on you because you should expect things like this to happen.”
Meanwhile, in stark contrast to the NRA, Celeb Boutique did anything but suspend Twitter activity. In fact, the retailer has tweeted continuously since becoming temporarily entangled with the tragic news event.