Mistakes on social media play out like bad horror movies. You cringe, cover your eyes, and thank your lucky stars it wasn't you.
The upshot, though, is that there are always lessons to be learned from the mistakes of others.
Here are the top 5 worst social media blunders from brands in 2014.
5. VH1, #AskThicke
VH1 hosted a Twitter chat with Robin Thicke. The hashtag #askThicke quickly got hijacked by folks on Twitter with some serious questions for the controversial singer. The lesson: A social listening tool or sentiment analysis tool, or just some common sense could clue you in on when Twitter isn't going to play nicely with the subject of your PR stunt.
4. Volvo, Malaysia Airlines
Not long after the Malaysia Airlines flight went missing, Volvo tweeted about the search and added in a plug for the safety of their vehicles. It was not received well. The lesson: Know when being self promotional is completely inappropriate.
3. American Apparel, Challenger explosion
At number three we have American Apparel. They posted a picture on Tumblr this fourth of July of smoke and clouds, something that kind of looked like fireworks — except for the fact that it was the famous Space Shuttle Challenger explosion which killed all seven astronauts on board. The lesson: Know where you're getting your images, and know what they are.
2. US Airways, NSFW picture
US Airways replied to a tweet and somehow managed to include a link to a super not safe for work picture. The company said they'd meant to flag the tweet. Regardless, the lesson here is always check your links before you post.
1. DiGiorno Pizza, #WhyIStayed
Normally, they're hilarious and topical, but when they sent a tweet using a hashtag that turned out to be associated with stories of domestic abuse, no one was laughing. The lesson: Research your hashtags before you use them.
Erin Carson has nothing to disclose. She doesn't hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Erin Carson is a Staff Reporter for CNET and a former Multimedia Editor for TechRepublic.