A cautionary tale for Twitter

Yesterday, Politico reported that Rahm Emanuel met his Twitter imposter and, with a $5,000 charitable donation, claimed the Twitter account @MayorEmanuel.  Dan Sinker, the man who created the account, racked up more than 40,000 followers and Tweeted nearly 2,000 times, parody-style.

For example:

Driving around in Axelrod’s Civic, doing loops around the block outside Chico’s offices, my ass hanging out of the missing window, laughing.

less than a minute ago via webMayorEmanuel

This emphasizes the need for brands (including politicians) to embrace social media platforms and, at the very least, secure a presence on them.  Hopefully, this does not lead organizations to jump the gun on strategizing before actually launching a plan— just because they’ve registered a Twitter account doesn’t mean they are ready to jump in with both feet and start Tweeting.  Not taking the time to think things through would be a major misstep.

Actually, this week has brought a great example of major missteps and lack of strategy on Twitter.  This week, Charlie Sheen launched his verified Twitter handle @CharlieSheen and broke a Guinness World Record for the fastest amount of time to reach 1 million followers.  Though he’s an easy target and an extreme example, his rambling tweets perfectly demonstrate lack of an effective PR strategy.

Face it folks, you just feel better when you say it. #WINNING

less than a minute ago via web

So, the moral of these stories is that while it’s important to secure usernames and presences across popular platforms, just because you sign up does not mean you need to start engaging and participating immediately.  In fact, just listening for a while could do nothing but help to prepare for solid engagement.

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