FedEx, Ketchum and a VP illustrate speed and impact of twitter

Posted on January 17, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Today on Twitter, I found a truly interesting story to blog about.  Its unfolding before our very eyes and raising awareness of so many issues created by social media. One of my friends, ITSInsider, wrote a tweet (a note on Twitter) about it, which I saw. I clicked through to the link she posted and read the story. You can read a great blogpost of the story (by Peter Shankman).  But to briefly summarize, the story is this:

Apparently James Andrew, a VP and Director for Ketchum Interactive in New York visited Memphis to participate in a meeting with one of their largest clients, FedEx.  Upon arriving in Memphis, this VP tweeted this:

“True confessions but I’m in one of those towns where you scratch your head and say ‘”I would die if I had to live here!”

A local employee read this tweet, was offended, and sent an email to Mr. Andrew.  The employee also copied all the executives at FedEx and Ketchem.  The email suggested that it was disrespectful and wrong, and hinting that it would affect the relationship between the two companies.  The letter is posted on Shankman’s blog.

All of this took place very quickly.  The Tweet was sent on Jan. 14, 2009 at 4:59 (I’m assuming it was about 5 in the afternoon, not the early morning). On Jan. 15 at 5:19 pm, an article was posted on Gawker. Today is Jan. 17 and this story is all over Twitter and in the blogesphere.  Since this happened on Wednesday, and today is Saturday, I’m wondering if the FedEx and Ketchum execs have even had time to formulate a response to this.

I’ve checked out Mr. Andrew’s original tweet  and his blog, and some of the responses he’s gotten from his readers.  I see an unhappy tweet from a woman who said:

“@keyinfluencer Nice try at backpedaling, however it comes across as somewhat insincere. Many of us saw this tweet and are offended.”

I also see dozens of other comments on Shankman’s blog and on Andrew’s blog that are supportive.  Some share the sentiment that not every visit to every city is positive, that nothing is secret anymore, that this is why legal departments worry about social media, that this is a hard lesson to learn, and that it is important to know who is in your social network when you sent your ideas out there.  The dialogue generated here is enlightening.

Mr. Andrew’s wife posted a blog about it.

I find it interesting how fast this works.  This story is still unfolding as I write.  I’m sure we will see more of this in the social and maybe even the traditional media.  I’m not sure FedEx or Ketchum will appreciate the discussion.  Attention is good, but is negative attention just as good?

One thing is for sure, Mr. Andrew has created dialogue in the social media space.  He is a key influencer.



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One Response to “FedEx, Ketchum and a VP illustrate speed and impact of twitter”

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