August 27, 2018
When you read these tweets, do they sound like they have been written by the president of the United States, or the director of some of your favourite sci-fi films? No, not really. They are more representative of something you might come across on your slightly racist relative’s page, or even that of a 12 year old.
“You know what, don’t bother showing the video. We will make one of the mini-sub/pod going all the way to Cave 5 no problemo. Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it” @elonmusk
“Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me “old,” when I would NEVER call him “short and fat?” Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!” @realDonaldTrump
“Ed Balls” @edballs
Twitter has become a platform for PR blunders, such as Elon Musk’s latest blunder, calling one of the Thailand divers, sent out to rescue stranded children, a ‘pedo’. Although, it can also be a place for beautiful PR masterpieces, such as Obama’s twitter whilst serving as President, for instance one of his last tweets in office was the fifth most retweeted in 2017; “Thank you for everything. My last ask is the same as my first. I’m asking you to believe—not in my ability to create change, but in yours.”
In short, it has opened up a wealth of opportunities to ruin a public image, or create a beautiful one, through effective PR.
However, in its original form, Twitter was designed to be a platform whereby you sent one text to one number and it was then broadcast to all of your friends. Noah Glass, co-founder of Twitter, was once quoted saying; “you know what’s awesome about this thing? It makes you feel like you’re right with that person. It’s a whole emotional impact. You feel like you’re connected with that person.”
A debate arises when this is considered, as we start to wonder whether having a PR team construct tweets for personal accounts of certain figures goes against the very purpose of Twitter itself; to feel connected with people who interest you, and who you wouldn’t often have the opportunity to interact with in everyday life.
If we remove this connection, by utilising teams of marketing specialists to craft perfect public facing tweets, we lose part of that emotional impact which Noah Glass made reference to. Instead we are presented with the public ready version of the influencer in question which their business or party believe to be best.
When you buy a product, you buy into a brand, and when you support a politician, you support what they stand for.
Morals come into this equation as we wonder whether we should have a full understanding of the people behind the brands we invest into. If a team is making the decisions for them and writing their content, we never truly get to know their personality and beliefs.
We as PRs, must train our clients to understand when is the right time and place to express certain opinions, and the possible implications if they don’t choose their words wisely. That is arguably where our influence ends. If they have an opinion that they want to express through the medium of social media, should we let them express it? Does their following have a right to know their opinions, controversial or not?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!