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.
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.
This Tweet has been deleted by Toledo, but the Internet is forever. pic.twitter.com/ZeRceOKRPA
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) April 24, 2018
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.
Friends, join me in making the University of Toledo change its mascot to Shrek. A simple retweet is all you need to do to make this dream a reality! https://t.co/0uhRJ1kYMG
— Morgan Moriarty (@Morgan_Moriarty) April 24, 2018
— TFM (@totalfratmove) April 24, 2018
It appears as though the University Of Toledo has deleted its promise to change its mascot to Shrek if it got 500K retweets. Was getting roughly 1,000 retweets a minute towards the end. pic.twitter.com/fqrQPUItkv
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 24, 2018
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.
Darn it! Rocky got jealous about the possibility of being replaced, and deleted the tweet! pic.twitter.com/gF6g9whisS
— The University of Toledo (@UToledo) April 24, 2018
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.
— BGSU (@bgsu) April 24, 2018