Lessons Learned From Adam Orth’s Resignation After Twitter Comments

Another Twitter fumble cost Adam Orth his position as game director at Microsoft. A speculative article on the next Xbox being ‘always online’ was released by Kotaku and many websites which sent many video game fans into a frenzy. Adam Orth tweeted a question on why fans were so against an ‘always online’ console. The hashtag he chose at the end of the tweet is what stirred the trouble: #dealwithit.

Be Careful What You Tweet

Adam Orth TweetsSorry, I don’t get the drama around having an “always on” console. Every device in now is “always on”. That’s the world we live in. #dealwithit

After that tweet was published, he was met with a question by a BioWare developer asking if nothing was learned of the recent mistakes surrounding popular games Diablo III and SimCity. To that he responded, “Electricity goes out too.”

The developer then asked what would happen to the customers in smaller towns with poor Internet service, and Orth responded, “Why on earth would I live there?”

After that tweet, things spiraled out of control for Adam. Over 60 video game websites covered the story and immediately put Microsoft and himself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Customers, who were not already happy with the rumors of the console’s perceived requirements, used Orth’s comments as confirmation of the rumors. Microsoft and Orth became the subjects of a major backlash.

Later that day, Orth made his Twitter private, and Microsoft remained quiet.

Representing Your Employer

Whether you explicitly say your tweets are your own or not, if people know where you work you will be associated with your employer despite  your best intentions. Asking a question on why people would be against a move that many believe your company is taking may not be a poor action, but to use a tone or verbiage which would suggest your fans or customers are not entitled to their opinions or are nothing more than complainers is a bad choice. This can come back to not only cost you, but your company can, and often times will, catch the brunt of the backlash too.

The Ugly Side of Twitter and Social Media

It’s been reported Adam Orth has resigned after Microsoft apologized for the situation. His Twitter account is still private, and he has reportedly deleted his LinkedIn account. It’s also reported he has received a high number of death threats which is sad and crosses a line. It’s unfortunate a tweet created this kind of reaction directed at Orth.

Discuss

How would you or your employer handle a situation like this on social media? Do you have a plan?