Brand Protection via Twitter
I’m getting used to hearing from folks who aren’t pleased [or, occasionally, are pleased] with what I write in my blog.
I know that people and companies use Google Alerts and other tools to monitor electroland for mentions of themselves. I do it too. I used to get alerts about another guy named Craig Stoltz, who worked in the communications department of Bristol-Myers Squib. [In fact, he’s probably reading this right now. Hi, Craig!]
But a few days ago I was surprised that one of my carefree Twitter messages set off a PR alarm.
I had decided to give a try to usertesting.com, a ridiculously cheap service that conducts very basic usability testing on websites. I was using it on behalf of a client, to test a site I’d been working on for a while.
And so one afternoon, after I’d just gotten results from my first user tests, I Tweeted the following:
At 7:55 p.m., this note showed up in my e-mail box, from Dave Garr.
I just saw your Twitter about UserTesting.com. As one of the founders of UserTesting.com, I really want you to be satisfied. Two questions:
1. Can I ask why you felt the results were only OK?
2. What can I do to make it up to you?. . . .
That’s an impressive pounce–fast, concerned, generous. I guess that increasingly, this is all in a day’s work. It’s a noisy, unruly social world out here. People who need to protect their brands and reputations have to be on alert and ready to respond.
What surprises me is the speed with which reputation monitors appear to have added Twitter to their must-check lists. This is made possible due to the rise of Summize, a search engine that sweeps the text of Tweets. [Google seems to notice some Tweets, but I haven’t figured out how or which.]
I know it was a delusion, but there was a time when I thought that my Twittering was semi-private, a way of speaking casually to folks who’d decided to follow me and whom I’d accepted into my posse.
But of course this is foolish sentimentalism: Like everything else in the digital world, Twitter content is forever. And everywhere. And immediate. I’m sure that within the next few weeks some kid just out of college will be rejected from a job not because of something she posted on Facebook, but due to some unguarded Tweet.
So it goes.
And I guess now I’ll have to use Summize every once in a while to what’s being said about me on Twitter. In fact, I just did.
Note to that other Craig Stoltz: I think we’re fine for now.
And to Dave Garr: Hi again!
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