Misjudgment or Transparency? How a Single Tweet Caused a Stir With a Client

It’s entertaining to watch how the PR industry self-spins, in this latest dust up regarding a tweet by James Andrews, an executive who works at Ketchum, a well known PR agency.

James is accused of bad form, and his company had to backtrack when he posted this tweet on the way to visit his client Fedex: “True confession but I’m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say “I would die if I h ad to live here!” it caused angst with the ‘location sensitive’ client, and they issued this comment, apparently on this blog (update: this may have been an email from Fedex to Ketchum), after it was run up the Fedex flagpole. (via David, and Peter)

Mr. Andrews,

If I interpret your post correctly, these are your comments about Memphis a few hours after arriving in the global headquarters city of one of your key and lucrative clients, and the home of arguably one of the most important entrepreneurs in the history of business, FedEx founder Fred Smith.

Many of my peers and I feel this is inappropriate. We do not know the total millions of dollars FedEx Corporation pays Ketchum annually for the valuable and important work your company does for us around the globe. We are confident however, it is enough to expect a greater level of respect and awareness from someone in your position as a vice president at a major global player in your industry. A hazard of social networking is people will read what you write.

Not knowing exactly what prompted your comments, I will admit the area around our airport is a bit of an eyesore, not without crime, prostitution, commercial decay, and a few potholes. But there is a major political, community, religious, and business effort underway, that includes FedEx, to transform that area. We’re hopeful that over time, our city will have a better “face” to present to visitors.

James, everyone participating in today’s event, including those in the auditorium with you this morning, just received their first paycheck of 2009 containing a 5% pay cut… which we wholeheartedly support because it continued the tradition established by Mr. Smith of doing whatever it takes to protect jobs.

Considering that we just entered the second year of a U.S. recession, and we are experiencing significant business loss due to the global economic downturn, many of my peers and I question the expense of paying Ketchum to produce the video open for today’s event; work that could have been achieved by internal, award-winning professionals with decades of experience in television production.

Additionally Mr. Andrews, with all due respect, to continue the context of your post; true confession: many of my peers and I don’t see much relevance between your presentation this morning and the work we do in Employee Communications.

(Signed as a personal message by a member of the FedEx Corporate Communications team)

Apparently, some took offense, and tweeted and an interesting exchange started to happen, as the conversation ensued also on twitter. James then stood by his guns, explained his stance and apologized and helped explain what happened on this own blog (followed by a post by his own wife).

A few takeaways

  • While showing a bit of misjudgment, (there are many other ways he could have expressed his opinion) I’d rather hire someone who was honest and transparent first. Gawker agrees
  • Fedex employees need to have some fun with the online conversation, the reaction was a brutal and excessive, but it’s clear that this was a trigger for other axes to grind.
  • Personal opinions must be kept in check when it involves clients and customers.
  • Twitter is often taken out of context, it’s happened to me. Intent isn’t always clear.
  • The PR industry likes to spin it’s own top, and I’m adding to it right now.
  • James Andrews is better off for this, and I admire him for weathering this storm.
  • Rule of thumb: (fitting, if you tweet from a mobile device). When you tweet, you’re publishing, don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face, and assume that your current and future boss, wife, and mother are reading it.

    Thanks to Jennifer Doctor (update: who calls for context of the situation) for spurring me along to comment on this topic.

    UJpdate: I like Eric’s take on this, and suggests that James didn’t represent himself well as a PR professional, regardless of anyone who should have an opinion.

    71 Replies to “Misjudgment or Transparency? How a Single Tweet Caused a Stir With a Client”

    1. Jeremiah – Interesting take on this and I wanted to compare and contrast this with the Motrinmoms incident from last year.

      I think everyone agrees that Motrin dealt poorly with the situation, but did Andrews deal any better? Instead of offering an open apology and attempting to rectify the situation he chose to justify this by giving out the reasons behind his tweet (valid though they may be) and adding a pretty lame ‘If I offended the residents of Memphis, TN I™m sorry. That was not my intention’ statement.

      Is this the response you would expect from someone who professes himself to be ‘an active practitioner in the space’? Surely the better response would have been to make a formal unreserved apology and deal with the customer off-line?

      Now don’t get me wrong I believe there is certainly a serious amount of misunderstanding on all sides and the response from FedEx is a little out of proportion and does show that there are other axes to grind, but did Andrews really weather the storm as you said? If you were looking for someone who was ‘an active practitioner in the space’ and you were offered his name as a candidate, would something like this make you think twice? You said yourself that it shows a lack of judgement. I think it shows a lack of judgement both in the commission of the act and the response to the act.

      I have followed this quite carefully since it happened and I think that opinion is very evenly split. Andrews’ followers are adamant that he did nothing wrong and that FedEx overreacted. Memphis residents (and a lot of PR folks) are appalled that he would say such a think publicly knowing that such a large and respected client might overhear.

      I think your rule-of-thumb ‘When you tweet, you™re publishing, don™t say anything you wouldn™t say to someone™s face, and assume that your current and future boss, wife, and mother are reading it.’ is very apt in this situation.

      But I’m not sure I would hire Mr Andrews as a result of it


    2. FedEx came out looking bad. If he’d said something about FedEx directly I could understand the reaction but this is about a city. One they even admit has problems (I will admit the area around our airport is a bit of an eyesore, not without crime, prostitution, commercial decay, and a few potholes).

      Social media is about being real. If we can’t reveal a personal opinion in public fora for fear that it might offend a client then how are we to practise what we preach?

      If the team at FedEx were really concerned about the reputation of their home town they could have easily shown Mr Andrews the real Memphis – the one they know and love – to sway his opinion. What a tweet that would make. (Hey I was wrong. This place is great.) Or better, arrange the necessary sponsorship needed to implement the programs that will start eliminating the problems. If they’re going to be so thin-skinned about the matter it’s better they take ownership and responsibility for remedying the situation.

      Just some thoughts,


    3. Well put Gary

      Not sure if James should apologize. What should he apologize for, bad manners, being honest? His own company did apologize on his behalf.

      It’s clear a lesson has been learned about what you say online is published.

      Here’s a thought, James could volunteer at Memphis, at a non-profit that aims at improving the quality of life within Memphis, as a good will gesture.

    4. The tweet in question sounds like it came from an elitist jerk. I don’t know if he uses his Twitter account for business purposes. If he does then the comment was inappropriate.

    5. There is no such thing as an online account that is for “business purposes”, and we need to stop thinking this way. Every single thing that I post might someday be ready by a potential client, my mom, a girlfriend, a pastor, or they folks vetting me for a NY Senate seat.

      Maybe I just have more experience saying offensive things and having to apologize for them — but part of being a “social media guru” is helping companies understand and respond to their five minutes of hell under the bright lights.

      I’d encourage FedEx to wait two weeks, and look back at how Ketchum guided them through this — what advice they were given, what steps were taken, and how they responded to some very negative public relations.

      That is, after all, what they’re selling — right?

    6. Everyone who knows the FedEx story knows why they are headquartered in Memphis. It was an astute business decision that certainly wasn’t based on aesthetics.

      Generally, in a global sense, as people we have to learn to ‘depersonalize.’ James’s tweet wasn’t a personal attack, it was an expression of the impression Memphis made on his psyche. He’s probably not the first person to arrive in Memphis for a meeting with FedEx to have that same impression. And, frankly, that’s something FedEx should be alert to, not insulted by.

      We all like to look at the brighter side of the city we call ‘home’, but an occasional shot of pessimism can be important for quality improvement.

    7. Important post. Much of this is deja vu from the debate cycle about the appropriate parameters of employee blogging. Because Twitter has so lowered the barriers to feedback, and so intermingled personal and professional interests, it’s all much more complicated now.

      That said, at the end of the day, we have a fiduciary responsibility to our clients and customers, and that must be primary. It raises complications, and I personally struggle with “middle line” constantly — especially since I’ve sometimes viewed as a “thought-leader” — but we’re just not doing our job if we don’t exercise extra (if not proactive) attention to client sensitivities.

      This can have consequences. I once led a client-conference where we decided, at the request of the clients themselves, NOT to allow blogging during certain portions of the event. Those of us who enforced the policy took no shortage of grief from bloggers and other social media experts. I personally felt dissonance because the request ran counter to my “open” philosophy. But it was the right call.

      – Pete Blackshaw

    8. The whole situation feels like a mountain out of a mole hill. Looks like none of these people are busy enough and are all wasting time on tiny issues. Seriously, there are far more important matters at hand, it actually does make FedEx look like another faceless corporate giant with too many employees who don’t have enough real work to do.

    9. This just shows what a Lame Brain Andrews is.

      He’s certainly not cut out for PR work.

      Ketchum should dump his monkey ass. Perhaps Fed Ex will show some mercy and let him drive one of their trucks (hopefully, around Memphis).

    10. One commenter compared this to the Motrin case, but I think in this case James did what Motrin should have done. Been honest, authentic and transparent in his response. The pillars of Social Media.

      Ask yourself, have you typed tweets that could be mis-interpreted? Likely. Have you written tweets that might offend someone. Likely.

      I think FedEx comes out with egg on their face. This comment was not about them, and they look sour. I think the second comment suggesting that they could have approached this better – is right on. Imagine if they had instead showed James the best side of Memphis? That would have been a story in itself – spun positive for FedEx.

    11. I am glad you posted this for discussion and the links you provided are helpful in understanding more about this. I saw it when it first came out. I shared it with my husband and we had some pretty interesting discussion about it so I’ll show him this post as I follow-up.

      For me, bottomline is we have to be careful what we post on the internet whether it’s on blog or Twitter or comments. “Tactfulness” is a virtue internet users need – IMHO 🙂

    12. The challenge of Twitter is that it combines both conversation and publishing. The interactivity can make you feel like your are talking to friends, when you really are publishing. The problem with a standard of tweeting based on what you would would say to a person’s face is you really don’t know who will be reading it. This is especially true for people with thousands of followers, whose followers likely have thousands of followers.

      Obviously, this whole thing was blown out of proportion. But there are two facts (one on each side) missing in the post that should be noted:

      1. Andrews did not name Memphis by name in his tweet. That fact only became know by the publishing of the reaction by FedEx.

      2. Andrews was in Memphis to speak to Fedex Corporate Communications about social media and he posted the comment using his Twitter name of “keyinfluencer”. That provides some insight about why Fedex responded the way they did and why the media jumped on this as a story. I think Andrews would have received more slack if this were just a PR person traveling to a client meeting.

    13. Another great post Jeremiah,
      Well, this is life in the social media or Life 2.0. We all need to be very careful what we say and why we say it. Everyone is listening and everyone can make their own assumptions as to what you were trying to twitt, blog, comment, vlog, etc . This reminds me that not so long a go I was living in a communist country where even the “walls had ears”, we had to be very careful as to what we were talking about in my house or with our friends. You never knew how people will take it and what the consequence may be. On top of this I know that my English as 4th language is sometimes a problem in my communications with other. I have said once to a girlfriend that my wife in Europe was very bad. What I was trying to say was my “life”! My bad English caused me lots of headaches and money for flowers for that little mistake. What I am trying to say here is that I can relate, we all can relate. We say things that may be very true and very open, but not everyone looks at things from the same angle as we do. I think this is the case with James. The folks at FexEd jumped the guns maybe because they were associating his twiit with FedEx or Memphis and took it personal. I get it. What they did not understand is how the Social Media world works and how bloggers think. Maybe James does not understand this and is twitting just beacons everyone else is. I started twitting just last year and at first I did not get it, nor did I see how powerful of a social media tool twiiter really was simple because of who is listening. So, we all need to be very aware of what we say and how we say it and what we use and why to communicate our personal or professional feelings out there. Is this James™s personal twitter account or the one of this PR company? how is he using it? Was this twitt taken out of contest, maybe, maybe not, I am not sure. I did spend some time reading the blogs and comments about this, but I am still not sure, only James knows and I this is good for me.
      I guest the point that I take away from this is that we live in a new world with new rules and we all need to think before we blog, twitt, react, write comments, or painful emails to others. You may even want to be careful how you change your relationship status in Facebook. This is Life 2.0 after all.
      P.S. I hope that my English was good enough for you to get my point.

    14. Rob

      It’s very obvious to me, that from context that James was talking about Memphis.

      Vassil, that’s interesting, my dad used to tell a corny joke about a man who held up a bank and yelled “give me your money or your life” and the hard of hearing man said “find take my wife”.

      Your English is fine, got your point, new rules for new communications.

    15. As a Memphian (of 2.5 years, anyway) I’d like to offer my observation. Native Memphians (in my experience) love their city and feel as though they are always defending it from people who see it as a proverty-sticken, crime-ridden, race-relation impaired town with a corrupt local government. I see it at work, I read it in the comments sections of the Commercial Appeal, and discuss it in my neighborhood.

      (I think that covers the popular debates.)

      So I am not surprised that FedEx employees spoke out the way they did regarding Andrews’s comments, particularly in responce to “Fedex employees need to have some fun with the online conversation.” I can tell you that many Memphians are sensitive to criticism because they love their city despite its stigmas. Naturally, FedEx would be better served to handle it differntly, but I’m not surprised they didn’t.

      Also (somewhat unrelated), I’m not certain we have reached a working definition of “transparency” against which to compare Andrews’s comment.

      I’m reading Holtz & Havens and trying to add mass media and public relations theory to their work in Tactical Transparency, but I’m not yet convinced we have a working definition and this case I think exemplifies that point.

      Am I mistaken? Do you feel we have operationalized transparency to the point that we can implement it in practice?


    16. You said, “I™d rather hire someone who was honest and transparent first”, but whether you’re a PR rep, an analyst or simply a company employee, discretion is the better part of valor in every case. It is unprofessional to bag on a city where you live or where your clients live, and you must always operate as if your CEO and your customers’ CEO are reading your social networking activities. You must always consider the consequences of what you do online and be responsible for it.

      There are many times for all of us where the easy thing to do would be to mock an idea, a company, an individual or an event, but it’d be better to hold onto those thoughts and do something constructive.

      I’d venture a guess the Tweeter regrets his post, but does so more because he got caught than that he did it, and that’s the more telling about the individual.

    17. It’s neither misjudgment nor transparency. it’s INCOMPETENCE or at least IGNORANCE. There, I said it. I mean, this guy is supposed to be a PR bigwig, and he doesn’t know the difference between Twitter’s “open for all to see” communication model vs. Facebook’s or LinkedIn’s “open to some via groups” model. These are the tools that “PR 2.0” people should know like the backs of their hands! There’s just no excuse .. except for the words in caps I mentioned above. He should have known better. If I wanted to vent about the type of “emotional situation” that had lead to his offending tweet, I would’ve sent email to a well defined group of friends/family.

    18. @skribe “Social media is about being real.” – yes, but this guy is a PR bigwig, not some kid on MySpace. I’d compare what he did to a partner level lawyer playing poker w/ his buddies for real money (which is illegal) *and* webcasting it live for anyone to see.

    19. I’m not bothered at his comment.

      Had he have said the same about my home town I’d want to tell him where to get off, then I’d remember that what he said is neutral and that I am offended not by his remarks but by my opinion that he is wrong. He is allowed to think what he wants, and he is certainly allowed to say what he wants.

      FedEx, like Twitter, gives people a platform to disseminate their opinions to the entire planet however distasteful FexEx or the people of Memphis may think those opinions are. The difference is that in the case of the former the mechanism by which the opinion is transported is private.

      Anyway I made him an imaginary friend on FriendFeed, added his blog to my rss reader and am following him on Twitter. I’d like to listen to what he says before I judge him.

    20. Louis Gray and Lawrence Liu catch the right angle on this story in the comments above. If the standard is: “I™d rather hire someone who was honest and transparent first”, I should erupt with tweeting every petty little thought I’ve ever had. I assume companies would come knocking my door down with offers and requests to buy my services/products.

      There is a place for valid critiques and observations. Your internal regulator should tell you what these are. A blanket statement against a city, one that houses an important client, is not the kind of constructive critique I’m thinking about.

    21. The actual takeaway here is for people to learn how to articulate properly within 140 characters. That’s all.

      Based on what the actual situation was that prompted his post, he should have been way more specific about the ISSUE and then about the AREA and ESTABLISHMENT he was in when he posted what he did to Twitter.

      Because he was vague in his statements, his post was available for ANY convenient interpretation by anyone that wanted to make a big deal out of it. That’s ENTIRELY his fault, haha but it’s not so big of a deal as people have attempted to make it out to be.

      The question becomes… If someone works for a company, is it the case that “all your posts are belong to us”? Where is the location where people can express themselves personally and where is the location where what they say is a reflection on and representation of their company?

      If the client is able to cry about someone saying something about thier town, what’s stopping them from crying about someone saying something about their state? What’s stopping them from crying about something said about their country?

      It’s ridiculous. Having said that… Considering what the actual situation was that prompted his post, he was way too vague and should have been precise with his language.

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    23. As someone who lives and works in an economically depressed area and is doing everything she can to change the image of that area, I have to come down on the side of FedEx. Yes, are there other axes to grind here, absolutely, but it shows incredible arrogance that someone would somehow forget that the world can see what you write these days. And to expand on what someone else said, would he have said that to his client’s face.

    24. “Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to someones face”

      That’s what everyone has to remember. Although I think the reaction to the comment was completely overblown that’s how things are.

      It’s one of the negatives of this social world. When you say something everyone sees it not just people you know.

    25. Forgive me if one of the above commentors has already pointed this out, but his “explanation” rings of insincerity and BS.

      So someone made a racist comment to him; doesn’t the guy live in Atlanta?

      Yeah, so it upset him, and his knee-jerk reaction was to post about it. But marketing communications professionals are not normal people. The whole point of the profession is strategic communication to build and strengthen and encourage relationships. Snarky blanket comments about other people’s hometowns are a big no-no in an echo chamber like twitter, and he KNOWS that.

      If you want to rant about a town to your friends, a communications professional should know to do it with a filtered blog entry or personal email to a hand-selected group of people.

      Would he have shouted his comment in a random Memphis restaurant that was likely frequented by native and possibly frequented by his client? No. So he should not have shouted it on Twitter, either.

      If you make a disparaging comment to to your friend about your client, and your client happens to walk in the room, would you expect him or her to react calmly and tell you that you are entitled to your opinion? No. The comment would be considered highly unprofessional, inappropriate, and insulting.

      If you ran into your clients at a bar on a Saturday after a few too many cocktails, would you claim the next day that they should not be offended by any inappropriate comments they may have overheard because you are only human? No, you would not.

      Social media participants like to whine about the repercussions of their online actions as though there is an inherent right to be genuine online, though most people readily understand that there is no inherent right to be genuine in other public spaces. Social media professional are expected and paid to know better.

      He failed at his job here- just for a moment- and while he shouldn’t be fired over it, he should admit that he screwed up without clinging to this self-righteous idea of entitlement to personal opinions when in line of sight of professional associates.

    26. People – Take a look back at James Andrews’ tweet:

      True confession but I™m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say I would die if I had to live here!

      Find the word “Memphis” in that sentence. Was he in Memphis? Was he in Collierville? If the guy at FedEx had not over-reacted — if this had not hit the Net so hard — would anyone reading that tweet, have even guessed what STATE Mr Andrews was in?

      Yes, it’s true that “your current and future boss, wife, and mother are reading” whatever you write on the net. But let’s all remember that it takes TWO people to have a reaction, or overreaction as in this case.

    27. I’m with Vicki – and when you add the info about the racial incident, that makes his reaction real and valid.

      I’d hope people would have more sensitivity given the situation. Context is often hard to see on Twitter. I feel Mr. Andrews has done absolutely nothing wrong here and he’s being dissed for no reason.

    28. @lawrence Liu (20)

      Your analogy is ridiculous. He didn’t do anything illegal. Get a grip, man! He told an uncomfortable truth and the team at FedEx over-reacted The fact that he’s not a script kiddie on Myspace, but a PR bigwig makes it all the more important that he not be pilloried.

    29. What’s intriguing to me, as a native New Yorker, is that people are surprised that those who choose to live there aren’t crazy about places that are radically different. This was a surprise to the folks in Memphis? They don’t think, and say, the same thing when they land a LaGuardia? And as @Vicki said, these folks went out of their way to make sure everyone knew it was their town he didn’t like. Puhleeze.

    30. I commented on James’ blog last week. Not sure that we have added anything new to the situation.

      As communications professionals, we are paid for our judgement beyond our other valuable skills. This was bad judgement. Now we are all human. Presuming James provides a valuable service to FedEx, it may not be in their best interests to crucify him or his company. Consider it a “teachable moment.” We have all had them. I am guessing that they have all talked this out behind the scenes.

      If you position yourself as the social media “guru” – first, of all, don’t – but if you do, you had better demonstrate in all your behavior that you get it – even the bleeding edge of our job.

      Should FedEx lighten up? Nope. Is there a greater opportunity for some companies to look at the benefits of jumping in this conversation? Sure, and that was the missed opportuntity for J&J on Motrin. They could have parlayed the interest around the video into an online discussion about pain, moms and more.

      Not sure FedEx needs to be spending too much valuable time defending their backyard. Nor do they need partners to be setting up that need for them. As they, themselves say, they have pay cuts and profits to really focus on.

      Remember my :08 rule (stolen from a wiser friend):
      That precious :08 is the time it takes for me to say:

      does this need to be said. does it need to be said by me. does it need to be said by me now.

    31. Well, its typical a huge storm in a glass of water, I wish that Fedex took same care of my stuff aswell, this attitude show their unprofessional working attitutde and for so dear Fedex focus on your business in stead making fuss from nothing! Now wonder who just has lost business?

    32. @Guy Campbell – thanks for reading the book! And although I think it’s essential to get a good working definition of transparency in general, I think our point in the book was the “tactical” aspect of using social media tools to be authentic with your brand (the book is “tactical transparency”). Meaning, transparency is a state–you are or you aren’t to one degree or another. Being tactical in how you choose to let people play in your sandbox or how you use social media tools determines your level of “tactical transparency.”

      To that end (and I’m friends with James) I don’t think his tweet was tactical or terribly savvy. I think it was human and completely within his right to say, but not overly polite or wise in the circumstances. I’m fairly old school in terms of etiquette, and I wouldn’t walk into someone’s house and slight their choice of wallpaper. I might wait until I went home and mention it to my wife, but not commit it to a digital permanence when I’m going to a meeting with clients who have invited me to speak.

      James is a good man and a really smart guy in terms of how to use social media tools to communicate effectively and build community. I think (and I’d like to interview him about this situation) that he simply did what we all do with twitter – quickly typed what was on his mind – without considering the circumstances or who might be reading/listening. My takeaway from this is to pause before hitting send that much more to determine if I’d want my words heard by the general public or a few close friends.

    33. “Rule of thumb: (fitting, if you tweet from a mobile device). When you tweet, you™re publishing, don™t say anything you wouldn™t say to someone™s face, and assume that your current and future boss, wife, and mother are reading it.”

      100% agree. Once it’s on the web – it’s pretty much there for good. It may have been crawled on wayback machine, or cached by Google, or someone else would have blogged it.

    34. @John C. Havens (and Jeremiah Owyang)

      First, I am greatly enjoying the book. Unfortunately, I’m reading it slower than I’d like (particularly now that Spring semester is upon us).

      Second, I’d like to frame my question differently and rather than ask whether we have defined transparency, I’d ask how Jeremiah defines transparency.

      Maybe I took the title of this blog post too literal, as a question posed to readers whether Andrews’s tweet was misjudgment or transparency. And my response (though poorly articulated) was “before I can answer that question, I need to know your definition of transparency?” This made me wonder whether there is a universal definition.

      (Of course, in all transparency, I have a vested interest in that definition as I have about 10 weeks to build a theory for my master’s thesis in public relations.)

      As an aside, I lived in Las Vegas for all but the last 2.5 years in Memphis and I couldn™t help but think if Andrews wrote that about Vegas, we would likely think that he feared he would over-indulge and literally die if he lived there. I knew a few people who tried to live in Vegas as if they were vacationing in Vegas and they didn™t live there very long. So Memphians could read that as his attraction to barbeque, or dry-rubbed ribs.

      Nonetheless, I™d still be interested to read Jeremiah’s definition of transparency before labeling his tweet.

    35. doesn’t really matter what it was…. people were offended…. relationships damaged…. etc. People must be careful with what they say. When you tweet anything… you understand what you are writing.

    36. James was insensitive and not too bright. What’s funny to you isn’t necessarily going to be funny to others – especially if they’re PAYING clients. Luckily, his company didn’t lose the FedEx account! Anyway, James has lost major cred. FedEx is going to be questioning his true intent with everyone word that comes out of his mouth. ‘Is this guy just being two faced’

      If you’re going to use your REAL name then you’re going to be found out. Advice for @keyinfluencer, have 2 Twitter accounts! One for personal and one for private brain farts because data never dies 😉

    37. Being sensitive how your comments in any online medium might affect your relationships (business or personal) should be top of mind.

    38. Oh, I’m totally with FEDEX on this one, and they have doubled in my respect for dishing it right back to this insolent Internet ass who had to flog his superior little attitude on Twitter. I’m glad their reaction was swift and brutal, that was absolutely the right thing to do. Snark like that deserves the biggest possible pushback until they learn to stop it.

      Like…Gawker is a source on business ethics and morality? Please. FedEx, don’t be brow-beaten on this one by social media gurus who doesn’t even make money with their widgets — like you do providing the alternative to snail mail. FedEx rules.

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    40. Two points:

      1) people should have a work Twitter account and a personal Twitter account (with a nickname) if they want to avoid this

      2) people are too gutless, hypocritical, and politically correct. My favorite lie from Fedex is

      “I will admit the area around our airport is a bit of an eyesore, not without crime, prostitution, commercial decay, and a few potholes.”

      Really, Fedex? Because that’s the kind of thing that would make people not want to live there.

    41. Twitter is essentially a party line and everyone in the world is your neighbor downstairs. Would Mr. Andrews go up to a client and say to his face, “Did your mother buy you that tie, because no one would wear it except as a favor.” After all, that’s “keepin’ it real”, too. Even if you’re secretive about Tweets on your phone, they are NOT text messages dialed to one person with whom you wish to share a private (or personal network) joke. It’s lack of understanding of the technology to use it that way.

      The firestorm over the incident falls into essentially two camps: “Tweeting is freedom; don’t fence me in,” and “Business is business; it has it’s own rules of behavior.” Business behavior and protocols are a ‘virutal environment’ in which commerce is conducted without interference by extraneous personal factors. It’s artificial by design. Tweeting, by design is FREEDOM. Either business people stay off the party line, Tweeting anonymously, or businesses stay off Twitter. Neither is likely to happen. The leopards and gazelles are both on the savannah. Business people flying to land huge accounts, however, need to adapt or get off the grass.

      Kathleen Bertrand
      Integrated Integrity – The ART of Wise

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