Social media can be a fickle beast. Sometimes it can be a wonderful tool for self-promotion, and sometimes it can completely rip you apart.
Fifty Shades of Grey author E L James learned this the hard way when she participated in a Twitter Q&A on Monday. James no doubt anticipated fielding questions from her fans, but it was her critics (and a few trolls) who dominated the event.
Is stalking ok as long as I use a private jet to get there? #AskELJames— Spanky McDutcherson (@thatdutchperson) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames What's your favourite shade out of the 50? Is there a chance that more shades will be added?— Jack Howard (@JackHoward) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames - Is it true that you're gonna be the new host of Celebrity Apprentice?— Orlando Jones (@TheOrlandoJones) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames Is there a safe word which will stop you from writing anymore of this bollocks?— TittyBiscuits. (@dawneywawney) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames after the success of "Grey," have you considered re-telling the story from the perspective of someone who can write— Andrew Vestal (@avestal) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames what's it like telling millions of women it's okay to be in an abusive relationship as long as he's rich. Asking for a friend.— matt (@reginaIdkray) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames Are you getting tendinitis from having to hit "block" so often :(— Mara Wilson (@MaraWritesStuff) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames Can you confirm that you will be writing the story of Ramsay Bolton from his perspective, showing he is just misunderstood?— Ros (@GameOverRos) June 29, 2015
A moment of silence for the PR person who thought #AskELJames was a good idea— you're[still]single (@itsthatobvious) June 30, 2015
The stream of criticism became so massive that the hashtag became the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter in the U.S. and No. 2 worldwide pretty quickly.
The author was not without her defenders, who passionately stood up for her Fifty Shades series and asked the best-selling author honest questions.
To her credit, James didn't back down from the question and answer session despite the consistent stream of criticism. She answered questions she felt were legitimate, and revealed some insight into her writing process, ultimately making the session more successful than some other disastrous social media campaigns in recent memory.
In November 2014, toward the beginning of the Bill Cosby scandal, someone on the comedian's publicity team encouraged people to "meme" Cosby, adding what were supposed to be funny quotes or comments over pictures of the comic.
The results were about as catastrophic as you would imagine they might be, and the Cosby meme generator was quickly shut down.
The film adaptation of James’ erotic drama made big bucks at the box office and her new novel, Grey, sold over 1 million copies in just days. Check out the video below to learn everything about James’ new book, told from Christian Grey's perspective.