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Southwest Air’s intern Twitter thread: Brilliant or brutal social media marketing?


In case you missed it, last week Southwest Air turned the keys over to the social media intern on Twitter.

Of course, the marketing community was all over this. In fact, this thread by Morning Brew’s Jack Appleby claims that 50 marketers in a recent Twitter chat thought the tweet thread was a complete joke, and irreparabaly harmed the social media industry by insinuating social media interns are completely inept.

My response: Can we all just calm down?

First–it was funny. Right? I mean, aren’t we all taking ourselves a bit too seriously if we think a tweet thread from Southwest Air can take down our industry? C’mon folks. And Southwest Air has a history of these kinds of creative tactics. I thought it was a fun way for them to loosen things up on Twitter. After all, have you SEEN the comments on the post?

Which leads to the larger point here: No one really cares about our marketing bubble. LOOK AT THE COMMENTS! Not surprisingly, few have to do with the intern topic. In fact, the lion’s share of them have to do with, surprisingly, the airline itself. And, many of them, again surprisingly (noticing the sarcasm yet), are negative in tone.

So, wouldn’t it make sense for Southwest Air (and, on brand, by the way) for them to have some fun with a thread on Twitter about their intern program? Wouldn’t it make sense for them to at least try to keep things a little lighter as their mentions blow up with complaints every day?

Our industry has a long history of taking itself too seriously. And yes, the social media intern trope is getting old. I get that. But, here’s a brand with a history of fun, creative tactics on social media just trying to have a little fun with a topic that comes around every year (i.e., we’re hiring interns for the summer).

Plus, don’t we want brands to push the envelope and try new things on social? If not, what fun would it be to work in this industry? An industry, by the way, that is getting much tougher to work in by the moment, it seems. You take the fun and experimentation away and what are you left with? Processes and TPS reports. Responding to trolls on Twitter. That’s what. And no one goes into marketing to do that garbage.

So please, can we all just relax for a moment and take ourselves a bit less seriously. This work is supposed to be fun. If we start taking that away from social media marketers, I’m afraid there’s not much left.



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