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UPDATE: The Superdome Blackout, MetLife Stadium and PR Karma

UPDATE: We’ve just learned that the account in question was a fake, so as far as we know MetLife Stadium has yet to incur any bad karma. Whew!

PR professionals believe in karma. We just do. It’s part of the job.

As soon as you start believing that everything will go right because you’re prepared and you really mean well, something goes wrong. When the lights went out during the Super Bowl last night, we cringed at the thought of a billion people pointing and laughing at those who would surely lose their jobs. It wasn’t life threatening, but it was a public relations disaster for the Superdome, New Orleans and the NFL. The lights went out… for 34 excruciating minutes.

Admittedly, we laughed with everyone else at the jokes blaming Beyonce’s explosive halftime show for the outage and poking fun at the poignant irony of rich people being trapped in the Superdome. And we admired the brands that made the most of this “people are bored” promotional opportunity on Twitter and elsewhere. But when MetLife Stadium–site of the 2014 Super Bowl in New Jersey–jumped on the bandwagon, we had to take a step back.

It’s one thing for Oreo cookies to make fun of the power outage on Twitter–but it’s another thing entirely for the next Super Bowl venue to be so bold. It’s like making fun of your best friend’s divorce: don’t do it. You never know what life has in store, and tempting fate is something that we in the public relations business try our best to avoid.

But we get it, MetLife. It’s tough to let an opportunity to be funny on social media in a live situation pass you by. The public loves wit, and last night presented a golden opportunity to be witty—for everyone else. But not you, see?

That’s what PR professionals know all too well about Twitter. Though the platform and its practices may seem ephemeral, tweets are forever. They are evidence that can be quickly accessed and brought once again to the public’s attention–even a year from now.

If there was one golden rule to public relations it would be this: You never know what is going to happen, so don’t pretend to.

It’s bad karma.

UPDATE: The account has now been suspended. Someone agrees with us!

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