The Great TEDxToronto Bike Furnace of 2012

If you want to see how social media can spiral out of control then I’ve not seen a better recent example than the Toronto TEDxToronto Bike Furnace.  As far as I can tell it was started by @BrendleWhat, who tweeted, “Why is the City of Toronto taking bikes from @TedXToronto and throwing them into a furnace? #TedXToronto #BikeFurnace“.  Why? In response to a tweet about Rob Ford’s supposed vendetta against cyclists.

How did TEDxToronto respond to this, albeit good-natured, hijacking of its event? It investigated, checked with delegates to check whether there was a real issue, “The bikes seem to be in order outside – please let us know if you are running into any issues! #TEDxToronto” and has repeated this appeal a couple of times. Then, having established that there wasn’t a real world problem, it has let the Twittersphere have its fun.

The hashtag #TEDxToronto is trending in Canada right now.  It’s been a great event and anybody looking for an example of how to deal with the unexpected on Twitter could do worse than learn from the example set by the TEDxToronto social media team.


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