Rogers Wireless used a sponsored hashtag (#Rogers1Number) to promote one of its newer services, hoping to get people talking about it on Twitter today. They started talking, all right – with many using the hashtag to bury the company rather than praise it. Numerous messages of dissatisfaction with Rogers’ rates, offerings, customer service, you name it were posted, all linked together by the hashtag. While probably not a communications crisis, it was definitely not what the company was hoping would play out in the Twitterverse. So kudos to Rogers’ VP of Social Media (and a former member of the team here at Veritas), Keith McArthur, who rolled with the punches in response. “There’s a risk, but the benefit is also that we do get feedback that we can action, that we can pass on to different parts of the business and make our products and services better,” McArthur told the Toronto Star. “Some people are choosing to use this as an opportunity to talk about things they like or don’t like about the brand. That not new to us: we’ve been listening and responding to that kind of thing before most other brands, so, we’re okay with it.” McArthur’s comments not only show that the company understands the risks of trying to spark discussion in the wide-open cyberspace of social media, but that they’re willing to accept and respond to any negative comments that result from it. A good example for all social media marketers.