There have got to be limits on PR or marketing ploys, really. Representations of materials that are deceptive – like "tweets" that aren't tweets — are simply wrong. If this sets us awry with the promoters of a proposed shopping center in Carlsbad, NM, so be it. One can be too cute, and one ought not to be. Dialogue needs to be respectful, not misleading.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that a recent mailer backing the shopping center "includes what appear to be several glowing tweets about the project — but none actually came from Twitter." We presume that the promoters of this ploy wanted to give the impression that several people went to the trouble of expressing enthusiasm about the development project on Twitter, when they didn't. Shame.
The quotes apparently are accurate. It's the bogus context — the impression that they're tweeted expressions — that's wrong. Twitter itself should be upset at a perversion of expression like this.
"Nowhere on the page does it say it's Twitter," says the PR promoter of the project. "It's intended to look like a conversation in a nice layout." That's so cute, we can't let it pass unnoted. Not because our objections will change the world, but because somebody needs to take note of the obvious appropriation of an inappropriate context — in defense of straightforward communication and good PR.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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