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Chicago Tribune kitten: All in a day’s work

The internet loves cats. That’s a scientific fact. Normally cats don’t take over the homepage at chicagotribune.com, but today wasn’t a normal day for me and my social media partner in crime.

chicago-tribune-kitten-website-glitch-scott-kleinbergFor reasons that are not clear to us yet, the photo you see to the left is what our homepage looked like late this morning. And as if it couldn’t get weirder, we had a story about kitten adoption today that had nothing at all to do with this event.

In the age of Twitter, these types of mistakes live forever. And while this could have been a cat-astrophe, it turns out social media was quite charmed by the kitten. As the day went on, people started to refer to the kitten as the Chicago Tribune Kitten. Actually, the Chicago Tribune Kitten is named Benton, and he is up for adoption. We really hope that our mistake will benefit him.

The reaction was pretty awesome, to be honest.

The reason I wanted to do this post wasn’t to reiterate what happened. We got plenty of coverage. I wanted to mention the importance of an honest and fast response in social media, which is something I made sure we had today. I’m always talking about the importance of a social media crisis plan, and while an errant cat is far from a crisis, the same rules apply. Be honest and up-front. Own the mistake and assure your customers that it won’t happen again.

I have always wanted to be on Gizmodo and the Huffington Post, but I never expected it would be a cute kitten that got me there.

It’s also fun to point out that London’s Daily Mail referred to me as a “good humored Tribune employee.” I was a little bummed that they didn’t spell it humoured, but I’ll take it. And MSN called me a “possible Tribune employee.” That’s a new one. I left a comment and pointed out just how real I am.

And now, I leave you with further proof that the Internet loves cats.

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