If you’ve spent any amount of time on social media, you know that if you present the internet with an opportunity to do something with stakes, the internet will make sure the end result is the silliest and dumbest conclusion possible.

The road to naming polls that went horribly awry is paved with good intentions. Just ask Boaty McBoatfaceHarambe McHarambeface, and Footy McFooty Face.

And if you’re going to tell the internet that it can have something so long as it meets some kind of insane goal, the internet will ALWAYS meet that insane goal. Just ask the guy eating free Wendy’s nuggets for the next year.

So knowing all of that, you don’t have to be a social media guru to understand that if you’re a brand or notable institution on Twitter, you never want to try to out-bluff the internet. The internet will always, ALWAYS, call your bluff.

The University of Toledo found that out the hard way on Tuesday when the school’s official Twitter account said if a tweet received 500,000 retweets, the school would change its mascot from Rocky the Rocket to Shrek. We don’t need to tell you what started happening next.

The school removed the tweet in the early afternoon as soon as it became apparent that not only was the internet taking this challenge seriously, but that 500K retweet goal was likely to be met.

According to USA Today, the school is trying to play off the weird tweet offer as a joke gone awry.

University of Toledo media relations specialist Christine Billau told USA TODAY Sports by phone that the tweet was not meant to be taken literally, and that a change wouldn’t be fair to the school’s current mascot, Rocky the Rocket. 

“We are definitely not changing the school mascot to Shrek,” she said. “The tweet was meant to be fun, but it caused too much of a distraction.” 

The school then also outed current mascot Rocky as the perpetrator of the deleted tweet.

Toledo told USA Today that the account is run by a social team that doesn’t always have “direct supervisory approval.” Perhaps this might cause them to rethink that one.

Of course, it’s all fun and games in the end, but the question still remains…who thought this was a good idea in the first place? Obviously, Toledo was never going to change their mascot to a copyright-protected animated character unrelated to their school, but then what was the intended result? You can play the entire thing off as a joke that people took too seriously, but it’s not really all that funny or clever as a joke. So the only logical solution is that someone who really, really did not understand how “How Many RT” tweets work decided it would be harmless and good for a laugh.

Unfortunately for Toledo, it’s their rivals who are laughing at them over the awkward attempt at humor.

[USA Today]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.