The Guardian newspaper has commented on a series of rather blunt and insulting messages from Ryanair to a blogger.
Some commentators are suggesting that Ryanair needs lessons in how to deal with the blogosphere. However, I think it's worth noting that this style of communication is not out of character for Ryanair. The company (and its CEO in particular) appears to revel in its bad-boy image. The Economist magazine points out that Ryanair's CEO simply doesn't care if he's called a "loud-mouthed bully". He brashly brushes away any criticism that Ryanair should care about anything related to corporate social responsibility, customer service, environmental responsibility. Ryanair is all about offering cheap flights and maximizing profits. That is a formula that has worked very well for them to date.
Well… We're always advising companies to be sincere in social media. When you're corresponding directly with the groundswell, you can't "fake it". In that respect, I guess Ryanair is walking the walk. Its social media persona appears to be a true reflection of the company's ethos.
However, I think that they need to really re-examine that ethos. I think that Ryanair has lost a proper perspective on the distinction between "no-frills" and "customer-hostile". It may be profitable for Ryanair to promise very little in the way of service and to deliver on that promise – but it doesn't serve the airline well for employees to invest time and energy on insulting people.