Why Twitter is More Interesting Than Your Blog: The Steve Rubel PR Nightmare

When a new service like Twitter is launched, it doesn’t take a long time before we start seeing a lot of controversies with real world relationships. The traditional blogging medium (I can’t believe I just called blogging “traditional”) allows you to organize yourself into one coherent thought bubble and post what you have to say, filtered of all the things that you wanted to say but didn’t.

The case may be different with Twitter, which by nature lets you send thoughts in “packets” which means that you are more spontaneous in your thoughts, and thus reduces the chance of being prudent. Twitter, undeniably takes a more laid back approach to blogging, that I have no qualms of calling it the new personal blog platform.

Why?

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Take for instance the recent Twitter scandal between Steve Rubel and Jim Louderback of PC Magazine. Rubel, a top exec at Edelman handles several clients that advertise and pitch for PC Magazine, which is probably the world’s number one authority on broad-focus consumer technology. Why would a top PR exec mention that he throws his PC Magazine subscription into the trash?

What did Jim have to say about this?

When I saw the post, a torrent of thoughts flashed through my head. The first, of course, was to ring up the guys in the basement and cancel his free subscription. It costs a lot of money to print and mail those copies of PC Magazine out, and these days every dollar counts.

But then I started thinking about what this means for our relationship with Edelman. One of the company’s top execs had stated, in a public forum, that my magazine (and by extension, my audience) was useless to him. He wasn’t even interested in seeing whether we’d covered one of his clients. Did the rest of Edelman think like Steve? Were we no better than fishwrap to the entire company?

Should I instruct the staff to avoid covering Edelman’s clients? Ignore their requests for meetings, reviews and news stories? Blacklist the “Edelman.com” email domain in our exchange servers, effectively turning their requests into spam? If we’re not relevant to Edelman’s employees, then how could we be relevant to their clients? [source]

Of course, Steve did learn his lesson from this. I wonder sometimes how far does it take before “permanent damage” is done in relationships between people because of these business etiquettes. The web is providing is with far too many means to express ourselves on and off the record.

If Twitter is the precursor to the new medium of blogging, I’m quite excited to see how this will change the way we blog. Usually, bloggers sit down to post something out of the excitement of being the first mover (i.e. an exclusive post) or will wait till they get home, compose their thoughts and write. Twitter allows you to “blog the moment.” There were many factors that contributed to Steve Rubel posting that statement in a public forum at that golden moment. Who knows. Maybe he had a bad lunch or he was feeling “extra sarcastic” that day because of a prior argument. Or maybe he just came from a meeting and felt like he was king of the world. The possibilities are endless. It really just proves that what makes this social economics more interesting is the fact that we’re all flawed individuals :)

Thanks to Eric for the source of this discussion.

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