Social Media Top 5: Pay for Twitter, Stupid Transparency Tricks, and WaPo Social Media Guidelines
Dan Ziman says yes, and lays out his case. A couple of years ago I said I would pay for Twitter (and Dan’s $30/year is in my budget), but I haven’t gotten any feeling that paid personal accounts are part of Twitter’s model. It brings us back to the idea of “free” (yes, I read Chris Anderson’s book), and what is the friction point after which you lose all your customers? As Dan acknowledges, Twitter is in danger of losing to a free competitor if they start charging, so it seems that this idea remains a loser- not that it answers the “How will Twitter make money” question.
OK, I kid with the “monstrous.” But during this week’s “PR2.0 chat” on Twitter, Beth had someone “ghost-Tweet” for her during the proceedings– without telling anyone until after. she did so to raise the topic of transparency and honest in online communications. This is something that we in PR tackle every day, and constantly have to reinforce the line. “Ghost-blogging,” by the way, is not a black-and-white no-no in my book, but neither is it something I do readily. If you are in PR and marketing, have you been asked by clients or bosses to do something that crosses an ethical line, or falls into the gray area nearby? I bet you have.
Beth played a mean trick on a group of people she knew could take it, and I hope these discussions continue. We don’t have to agree, but silence on the issue would be troubling.
After all this transparency talk comes this case, via John Cass, of a blogger, David Chao, who happened to be employed by WebEx posting a bad review of a competitor, DimDim (whose Marketing lead, Steve Chazin, is a former client and all-around good guy, by the way). The blogger did not mention in the post that he is a Cisco/WebEx employee, but a quick click to his “About” page revealed the fact. Was that enough? Chao may have honestly thought so– but next, a DimDim employee apparently left a comment that was never approved and published. That’s a lot harder to defend. John supposed this is a “slight oversight,” but I’m not sure either way.
Now, there are Cisco disclosures all over the site, and in the post itself, along with an update with corrections from Steve Chazin. End result? Better. Too long a road to get there? Probably? Lessons leaned? I guess so.
Truly scrumptious. “Texas Tech Football Coach Calls Twitter Users Narcissists.” Of course, there is a point in that too many examples exist of athletes Tweeting before they think (as mentioned in the linked Mashable article) clash with if-you-fear-it-ban-it team officials. The irresistible farce meets the immovable dips**t, I guess.
Hey, I’m just taking things one Tweet at a time, giving it 140%.
There has been some handwringing over the recently leaked social media guidelines from the Washington Post. Steven Baker of BusinessWeek, for one, seemed troubled by the seeming restrictions on social media use. The following paragraph is probably one of the troublesome ones:
Post journalists must refrain from writing, tweeting or posting anything—including photographs or video—that could be perceived as reflecting political, racial, sexist, religious or other bias or favoritism that could be used to tarnish our journalistic credibility. This same caution should be used when joining, following or friending any person or organization online. Post journalists should not be involved in any social networks related to advocacy or a special interest regarding topics they cover, unless specifically permitted by a supervising editor for reporting and so long as other standards of transparency are maintained while doing any such reporting.
I understand that a tight enforcement would be a drag, and that personal is personal, but what I see int he guidelines as a whole is a lot of common sense in how to conduct the irretrievable commingling of personal and corporate brand. I would certainly think twice before aligning myself with something that would directly contradict the values of my employer- but then, I’m not as worried about political ties and potential bias perception– AS worried. Is it necessary to spell out personal usage rules in such detail in a corporate policy? Maybe not- but for some reason, I’m not quite so offended by them