If you have spent any amount of time in Washington, D.C., this following bit of news will not surprise you: There was a massive Metro meltdown.
I know, I know, I’m as stunned as you are. While it wasn’t the rare full bingo, four of the five lines were delayed. The Metro was batting .200 on getting people to work on time, which isn’t even good enough to play for the Mets.
So that’s not really newsworthy. Why am I bringing it up? Because at 10:35 a.m., presumably when most Metro riders were finally getting to work, the official @wmata account sent out this beauty of a Tweet:
Zip, Uber, #wmata, walk or bike around town! Tell your story - @zipcardc about having the courage to #ditchyourkeysDC http://t.co/QJ6J11L2CB
— @wmata (@wmata) January 28, 2014
Wow. Where to start?
Okay, let’s start with the obvious – the hashtag of #ditchyourkeysDC. Now I have used the Metro since I moved back to DC in 2011. My last job was across the city in Friendship Heights so driving every day would be even worse than taking the Metro – that’s how bad traffic here is.
But there were times that the Metro was so terrible, so delayed and so awful that I needed my car to make it to the office for an important meeting. I didn’t drive every day but the thought losing my car never once crossed my mind.
However, I now work in Virginia and every Metro delay makes it all the more likely I will ditch the Metro.
So who in their right mind would ever get rid of their car to rely on Metro? It hurt my brain to comprehend someone not only choosing the Metro over their car, but also getting rid of their car entirely!
Thankfully, no one has publicly admitted to committing such an act of stupidity. Check out the tweets for #ditchyourkeysDC. Yep, just about complete silence – outside of the various Metro accounts and event planners telling me the show up.
There was this tweet:
“@wmata: Did you #DitchYourKeysDC? Tell your story about this <--- nah bitch I wanna ditch y'all
— SmhJACQ (@JokesONjacq) January 25, 2014
And this one:
.@wmata If only driving weren't generally faster and cheaper than riding metro. #ditchyourkeysDC
— Benjamin Seth Bowden (@Rikeriffic) January 24, 2014
Further confusing matters for me is that the program is being co-promoted by ZipCar. What the hell?
So Metro wants me to ditch my car keys for other car keys?
If driving my own car to work isn’t good enough, why the hell would it be good enough for me to drive another car to work?
Again, and this cannot be stated enough, who would ditch their car keys to rely on Metro? Why would anyone rely on Metro?
The hashtag is a fantastic example of the wrong way to use social media. It’s too long. It’s not easy to remember. It makes no sense. It’s easy to mock.
Compounding this error is the insistence of the parties involved to getting the hashtag over. It’s sad-clown-ville to see these corporate accounts, multiple Metro ones, pumping a hashtag that no one cares about. It’s not working.
There is also the issue of being completely and totally tone-deaf to your customers – in this case, the millions of riders who complain almost literally every single morning on Twitter about crappy Metro service.
Twitter is not a good forum for Metro. They need to accept that. You’re just giving people an excuse to mock you even further.
It also shows a questionable lack of forethought by ZipCar. The only entity that has a lower approval rating than the government here is Metro. Why on Earth would you partner with them on anything for anything?
There is nothing to be gained for ZipCar – all the promotion is doing is dragging down its brand recognition in DC. Partner with Metro? Randomly kicking people in the groin would do less harm.
The most important thing to take from this is one you probably already know: