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.