Friday, December 9, 2011

How Three Companies Tweet Without Fear

I liked the piece in today’s Wall Street Journal by Elizabeth Holmes and on how three different companies deal with Twitter. My old personal favorite was Sea World, where they had Shamu tweeting. It took a while for me to “get” Twitter, but I love the service and along with HootSuite, I find it one of the indispensible tools to keep me up-to-date on the world of business…and other things as well. For example, during football Sunday’s, I keep my iPad next to me as I watch games as I follow the former head of NFL officiating Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) as he tweets about officiating issues regarding the games and gives his followers the correct information on why calls were or were not made.

From today’s article:

This week AMR Corp.'s American Airlines found itself caught in a public spat after actor Alec Baldwin vented on Twitter after being removed from an American flight. "Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS," Mr. Baldwin tweeted, referring to a Scrabble-like online game.

American replied via Twitter asking for his contact information. A day later, American tweeted, "UPDATE: Facts about yesterday's removed passenger" along with a link to a statement giving a less-flattering account of the passenger's behavior without mentioning Mr. Baldwin's name. Mr. Baldwin deactivated his Twitter account after the incident and apologized to his fellow passengers.

Companies are adopting a variety of strategies for navigating Twitter's pitfalls. One of the biggest issues is how many people to trust with a company's account, known as its handle. Spread the authority too thin, and the burden can be overwhelming. Authorize too many people, and the risk of mishaps multiplies. Here's how three very different companies—Southwest Airlines Co., Whole Foods Market Inc. and Best Buy Co.—are approaching the task.

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