We all love a scandal and this one’s a doozy.

HMV, one of the last big music retailers in Britain, has been facing quite a bit of financial difficulty over the last few years. It’s a familiar story: the rise of digital downloading, be it legally through iTunes or illegally through Napster and torrents, has led to a crisis within the music industry. They’ve beenĀ hemorrhaging customers for years and many companies have been forced into bankruptcy or to cut a substantial number of employees. Today HMV hosted, in the words of their own social media team member, a ‘mass execution‘. 60 members of the HMV social media and marketing team had to be let go (190 people in total at the head office were fired). It’s the unfortunate reality of businesses these days in that the first people to go are the least understood: the social media team.

Because social media marketing and community engagement is such a new concept it is often rejected by the more conservative higher-ups. Many of them may tout the fact that they’re on Facebook or Twitter but they have little understanding of how community engagement works. If they don’t see an immediate result then they simply assume that it’s not a profitable venture and they divert their resources away from social media. It’s the tragedy of the often misunderstood role that the Social Media managers play. Not every social media venture may work but it takes a long time (sometimes even years) to build a substantial rapport with your community that will translate into sales.

But back to HMV.

Here are the tweets, in all their glory, which show the poor social media team being let go.

Now. Many Community Managers would not be, to be it bluntly, so stupid as to do something like this. Most of them want to have jobs in social media and no company is going to blame the social media team for getting canned as they’re usually the first ones who are cut lose. Most of them will simply leave quietly and ask for a reference.

Though let this be a lesson to anyone who does think of firing their Community Manager:

Change your passwords before you do….or you may end up like this guy!