Sunday, January 25, 2009

un-PC tweet gets dude in hot water

So many of you may have read this article about how James Andrews, a Ketchum PR employee, wrote a tweet that got into the hands of his FedEx client and eventually lost him and Ketchum some business. Here's what happened: James arrives in Memphis and tweets: "True confession but I'm in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say 'I would die if I had to live here!'"
Meanwhile, one of the biggest clients at Ketchum is straight outta Mempis, and did not find the tweet complimentary.

In fact, he was pissy. You can read the full response Andrews' slip up elicited from the FedEx client in a posting by Jeremiah Owyang, but suffice to say it wasn't pretty. The FedEx client had hometown pride, and just didn't see the need to use Andrews' services anymore.

When I've heard people talk about this incident, it seems that most feel that the moral of this story is BOLDFACED--Watch your words when you're tweeting. Someone might not like what you're about to say.

But I can't be fully comfortable with that take-away. I agree that it's never good to hurt someone's feelings (in-person or online); but is it actually purposely hurting someone's feelings to tweet about your lack of love for a particular city? I'm not sure.

I mean, maybe I'm being too subjective. I've only just recently come into my own enough as a grown-up and a writer to be open about my opinions. I remember when I was younger and would write lyrics or articles; they were just devoid of the rawness that I was attempting to convey with my words because I was so damn hyper-aware of my (eventual) audience. Now that I'm older and more experienced, I feel it would be false for me to hold back my true thoughts and feelings. And on a loftier note, I believe that living consciously means living truthfully.

I mean, I'm not saying that due to these personal beliefs I will use Twitter as my own personal Hater Portal. I'm just saying that if we're acting as the PC police, we have to be VERY CAREFUL to avoid fostering a world of disingenuous and fear-based posts/tweets. That's all...

1 comment:

Bill Cammack said...

You're right, Jeannie. The takeaway is *NOT* "watch your words". The takeaway is that every instance of media that you post to the internet can and WILL be judged as a standalone.

Being that that's the case, you have to be especially careful with microblogging, because you're limited to 140 characters. Be specific and be precise or don't post anything at all.

I wrote about this last year in "Freedom of Consequences".