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Twitter users like its spontaneity. You can blog from your mobile phone with Twitter. You can send out an e-blast in the moment.

But if you're a professional using Twitter, remember that your clients are probably reading your posts.

James Andrews, a VP at a public relations agency, was in Memphis, Tennessee, to give a presentation to FedEx. While in town, he had an unpleasant encounter with a local, and tweeted this:

Some FedEx employees read this, forwarded it to their bosses, and soon the higher ups at FedEx who have spent millions of dollars on this PR agency, sent an open letter to Mr. Andrews (not sure if it was meant to be an open letter, but it's on the Web now) questioning whether they want to do business with his agency if he's going to hold their city in such contempt.

Now, it's easy to take things out of context when Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters.

And there could have been more dialogue to sort this out before it public.

But it turns out Mr. Andrews was in town to talk to FedEx about how it could use social media to further its business.


Read more here, at Jeremiah Owyang's Web Strategy blog.

Also thoughtful analysis and good takeways from Eric Gonzalez on his blog.

Andrews apologized on his blog, so it looks like he didn't lose the FedEx account... but this still makes for an interesting, modern day cautionary tale.

If you use twitter, feel free to be honest, but assume your clients are reading. And think about how someone with no context will read your posts.

Tags: ethics, etiquette, twitter

Views: 35

Replies to This Discussion

What a great example of the importance of having clear boundaries between your professional web presence and your personal web presence. Understanding that in the web 2.0 world there is no guarantee of privacy unless we apply it our selves. One of the great things about Facebook is that it allows us to manage our presence in a very proactive way.

Considering some of the ways I have completely rethought myself in the last forty years – from environmental activist, peace activist – chairman of the a democratic political club – I am very grateful that there is no web record for some of my successes and failures. I pity this generation coming up. All the more reason to be proactive in your approach – own your web brand – be present and accountable to your-self for your actions and realize people are watching, reading and listening.

If not today then some time over the next ten years.

Eric Wolf




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