Think Before You Tweet

Before you begin microblogging for your business, it may be worthwhile to consult with social media or public relations experts about your goals and strategy for this quick and easy communications tool.

Think Before You Tweet!

Microblogging may be almost TOO quick and easy for some companies to manage without taking this important first step.  When microblogging can be accomplished almost without thinking, the result can be a public relations fiasco.  In one instance, for example, Edelman Public Relations executive Steve Rubel twittered that he didn’t read his free copies of PC magazine and that he threw them away.  PC Magazine’s editor Jim Louderback responded with full-throttle force — threatening that email and pitches from the public relations agency would be blacklisted.  Edelman represented products such as Palm, Adobe Creative Suites, and Microsoft, and could not afford to alienate the influential magazine!   Mr. Rubel was obliged to post a public apology on his blog.

In another well-publicized gaffe, a Ketchum public relations executive visited Memphis last July to teach his Federal Express clients about social media, including Twitter.  The curious Fed Ex employees checked out his Twitter stream that evening, only to find him openly denigrating their hometown.  Fed Ex issued an angry public statement, and Ketchum was forced to apologize for the insult.

Lesson: Everything you post on Twitter is searchable, and deleting it from your account will not delete it from the Internet, where it lives forever.  Think twice before posting anything negative or dubious.

Think Before You Link

Take care when clicking on links in Twitter and other social sites (such as Face Book).  Analysts are finding that people put more faith in content that is posted on Twitter and social networks, but it’s important to practice reasonable security to protect your computer (and business!) from hackers.  Cyber criminals have used Twitter to infect Microsoft Windows computers with a malicious virus that can steal personal information, including email addresses.  BBC News reported this week that a fake Twitter profile led to a link (ostensibly a pornographic YouTube video) that was actually a worm-style virus. The computers of users who clicked on that link were infected with a virus which allowed the criminals to send spam and steal personal data.

Lesson: When using social networks like Twitter, Face Book, and My Space, only link to online content from websites and users you know and trust.  And then, do so selectively!

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About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a public relations and marketing consultant, and owns Fletcher Prince (www.FletcherPrince.com). Follow Mary on Twitter @FletcherPrince.

Posted on May 8, 2009, in Twitter Tips. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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