Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Licence to Kill. Licence to Tweet.

Even with the football fever gripping my senses, I am still aware that the world is not a giant football revolving around the sun.

The news headline on BBC news that morning was "Utah executes convicted murderer by Firing Squad". I have a host of other issues with this story but one of the most talked about aspects of it is definitely the tweet heard around the world.

Many people felt the tweeting of the death of a man, albeit a cold blooded, clearly sadistic murderer, to be grotesque at best and inappropriate. Mr Shurtleff says he believes in an informed public and he continues to "use social media to communicate directly with people".

I do agree with him there. Social media has changed the way we communicate and can really bring us closer to our various publics. But even though I am an advocate for social media, I always contend that sometimes we get so caught up in the hype that we forget the basics. I did not think Twitter was the best place to tweet about this and maybe that is my own moral perspective. But I also don't think Mr Shurtleff should be left to his own devices with Twitter. I really believe he needs a Twitter intervention because looking at this single tweet in a vacuum does not begin to demonstrate the fact that Twitter is a powerful PR tool, which in 140 characters can make or break one's image.

I was a bit taken aback by the lack of tact here. It's almost like he could not wait for the guy to be pronounced dead so he could have his 5 minutes of fame.

The AG would do well to think before he tweets, especially considering the very public office he holds, for while verbal comments may not always be picked up, tweets are forever. Yes, you may want to publicly defend your stance on "death by tweet" but berating your followers? Really?

And calling them whiners? Who is this dude's media adviser? Someone needs to hide his laptop and his smartphone!!!

I am after all this, slightly amused by his Twitteritis, and sincerely hope he gets help. And while we use social media for communicating news and important messages, as with everything else, some messages may require different vehicles for safe passage. There are also issues of what is and isn't appropriate for social media and these are questions that many of us may have to consider in the future. I mean, you never know what may be next!


A tad tactless yes! I think social media is still new and it will take a while for people to realise that some of the old rules of communication still apply. Avigirl...I doubt this guy has a media adviser and if he does I hope they're seeking new employment!

I agree. Traditional communications still has a very real role to play and too often we feel the need to make social media the centre of the communications universe when clearly there are some instances where tried and true methods work better.

Nah. I don't believe any PR person worth his/her salt would have allowed these tweets to be inflicted upon the world! This guy is rolling solo!

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