Why you can’t bury news on a Friday anymore

A recent example shows that the time-honored traditions of releasing bad news at the end of the week and/or while another company is unveiling good news doesn’t work in the age of social media.

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Whether it’s the White House dropping details of a possible scandal or a major corporation releasing a layoff announcement, the idea is that no one—not even the media—will be paying attention when the weekend is mere minutes away.

The same holds true for putting out bad news while another, much larger event is taking place.

Thing is, there’s no longer a bottomless pit for bad news. The world of Twitter, citizen journalists, and 24/7 online newsrooms makes the practice almost impossible. (Plus, a 2004 study suggested the practice doesn’t even work the way companies hope they do.)

Take, for example, social gaming company Zynga. On a Friday last month, it laid off 100 employees—reportedly giving them just two hours to vacate their desks—as Apple unveiled its new iPad. The news broke when former Apple, Sony, Mint, and Smulee employee Justin Maxwell posted the following tweet:

Zynga just laid off 100+ employees (incl. my friends) in its Austin office during the Apple Event. Gave them 2 hours to vacate. RT please.

— Justin Maxwell (@303) October 23, 2012

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