PR Hacks Invade Twitter

I was surprised – and a little disgusted – to get a message on Twitter this morning from @AmericasPower, trying to tell me than coal is much cleaner now that it was 30 years ago. I hadn’t added them to my Twitter feed, they must have just picked up on my comments yesterday about ‘clean coal’ and decided to throw me a line of spin. America’s Power is a front group for the coal industry. What’s interesting to me is their blatant (and lame) attempt to use Twitter to spread their line of spin.

A quick look through their Twitter timeline shows that they have a standard schtick. They have a couple of lines of spin and just send those through to anyone who mentions clean coal on Twitter.

So this morning I went through their timeline and sent a message to everyone that Amercia’s Power had contacted in the last 24 hours, countering the spin, telling them to read this recent article in Scientific American, “The Dirty Side of Clean Coal“.

Is this the future of Twitter? PR hacks just invading our communications with spin whenever we mention one of their products? Ugh.

I’ve told many PR folks over the last five years that they need to be listening to the online conversation about their products and services. However I also stress that the way they engage that audience needs to be intelligent, not this kind of ham-fisted approach of just sending a cookie-cutter line of bullshit. This is definitely a case study of how NOT to do it.

6 thoughts on “PR Hacks Invade Twitter

  1. I appreciate you doing this. I noticed and did a little pushing back of my own. It’s inevitable that this kind of thing would happen, but what’s interesting to me is how transparently industry shill they’re being. Like you said, 90% of their posts are the same couple of lines with links to their propaganda. I’m sure as time goes on the PR hacks will become more sophisticated and the Twittermind will have a tougher time ferreting out these attempts at swaying public opinion.

  2. Yeesh… “as the stomach turns”… I hate that crap. I find it engaging when a company sticks a guy on sentry duty on social networks (like the comcast guy in the States) to help with people’s frustrations and foster a better image for their company through better customer service, but “bot”-ing twitter is just so wrong.

  3. Attended social media club meeting last night and the subject came up. I agree the power is in 2-way communication. Honest, transparent and intelligent dialog works. It is my hope this type of bullshit will be crushed by people truly engaged in social media like yourself… the relevance of Twitter will ultimately depend on it.

    Oh… Thanks too for simply calling out these guys. Millions have been spent to sell the term “clean coal technology” to the masses. Unfortunately the gullible just swallow without any evidence the technology even exists.

  4. I block every PR hack I see on Twitter. I hope Twitter uses the block stats to create grey and black lists in the future and I can choose to turn on warnings for those users.

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