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April 28, 2010
Pitchman Poster Exposed on Twitter

Score one for The Washington Post. It smoked out a lobbyist using Twitter anonymously, and lo, he's changed his Twitter ID to acknowledge his lobbying role.

Twitter and other social media outlets are now being purged, hopefully, of being lobbying channels without the pitchmen posters being identified as such.

The Post on Saturday ran a piece by Cecilia Kang on how "the influence peddlers of K Street have discovered the power of social networking on such Web sites as Twitter and Facebook. Using their own names without mentioning that they work in public relations or as lobbyists, employees of companies with interests in Washington are chattering online to shape opinions in hard-to-detect ways." 

Kang cited P.J. Rodriguez as tweeting on cable television policy without disclosing that he's employed by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), an industry trade group. A pro-disclosure source quoted iby The Post called the Web and social media "a bit of the Wild West" in terms of masked identities.

Rodriguez himself acknowledged his role as an unidentified lobbyist tweeter in Kang's piece.

"Yeah, I guess I'm wearing both my personal and NCTA hat on Twitter," he said. "But I think it's clear to anyone who reads my Twitter feed who I am. I don't say on my profile that I work for NCTA because it feels redundant."

Yet a check of Rodriguez' Twitter profile today discloses an "UPDATE: I work for NCTA & blog at CableTechTalk.com."

Thus, the Wild West became orderly towns and cities, with roles clarified, and it's a good thing for our communication environment. 


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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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