It was 5.30 on a picturesque winter’s morning. Frost clings to the corners of windows like spider webs, Melbourne commuters secure their coats against the wind. Somewhere, a woodland mammal does something.

The social media team for Connectro trains, wipes the snow(?) off their boots and trudges into their post modern office. It’s a beautiful place. There’s a bunch of glass and all the furniture is aerodynamic. The heating was programmed to begin at 4.45, so the office has long since reached a comfortable climate. The automated coffee machine churns a familiar tune as it too concludes its journey to optimal temperature.

Life had been a good life ever since Connectro claimed the reigns of the metropolitan railways lines from those rascals at Metrex. A complete overhaul of the timetable had led to what could be considered a half decent service. Trains arrived, passengers were ferried, the trains, it seemed, had finally been tamed.

Genetically lottery winners populated all promotional material.

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The team took this as a good omen.

Sitting down in their luxurious Herman Millers, the team fired up the social networking. Their task? To manage commuter inquires and provide the outstanding customer service that had won Connectro the job in the first place.

But there it was; looming like a chilling vision of things to come.

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And then, as if the gates of hell had opened upon the Connectro Facebook Page, all manner of rage spilled forth.

Here are a few of the highlights:

WARNING:  The following are a combination of posts and comments made by the attendees at the Social Media Risk Management Conference, The Dialogue Consulting Team and the Rent-a-Trolls from the Australian Community Managers Group. They don’t represent anyone’s personal (or professional!) opinion or stance — merely everyone having some fun. It contains some bad language and adult themes. A brief inspection over your shoulder is recommended. Please check for small children, conservative employers and bears. Has your safety been verified? Then lets begin. 


They really set themselves up for this one.

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Connectro, connecting people, if not necessarily trains.

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And again.



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Stephanie loves being censored. Just ask her.

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Token Boromir appearance.

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Do they?

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They’re really beary sorry.

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The bear of bad news.

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A valid avenue of inquiry.

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Connectro Zeppelins. Coming soon to a station near you.

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Who can argue with that face?

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And finally, when all else failed:

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The concept behind our crisis simulation exercise was to see how well our attendees managed Page moderation over the course of a steadily escalating issue. The folk at the conference had to juggle angry stakeholders, intrepid journalists and perhaps worst of all, the bottled-up rage of the Australian Community Managers Facebook Group. It was an interesting exercise in managing stakeholder expectations. It also highlighted the importance of strategy, policy and crisis planning. Shooting from the hip never worked out well for anyone.

That said, we certainly had ourselves a time.

We’re pondering the idea of taking this concept on the road and turning it into a competition for social media monitoring teams/ community managers…

Thanks to all who participated for their help in a particularly entertaining afternoon workshop.

Happy trails

– The Dialogue Consulting team