Saturday, June 6, 2015

Machiavellian PR: Deleted Tweets

If you really want a tweet to be noticed, should you delete it?

That seems to be the PR lesson from two recent news stories: Twitter's shutdown of a site that saved politicians' deleted tweets, and one CEO's Twitter musings in the midst of M&A speculation.

Since-deleted but widely-reported tweets may be as old as Twitter itself -- which is to say that images of Anthony Weiner have been burned into my memory since 2011. But as time passes, I wonder if there are Machiavellian PR practitioners (as opposed to the garden-variety Orwellian PR practitioners) who intentionally post and then delete tweets for the sheer impact.

You can tip the media by saying you're shocked, shocked, that something like this could be posted -- in much the same way that you can ensure coverage by having someone slip the media what would otherwise be a press release (remember those?) and calling it a "leaked document."

Since we've long (since March 2015) been living in the Periscope Age, we've already seen the rise of behind-the-scenes, often "unauthorized" videos too. None I've yet seen has been blatantly manipulative, but already my email inbox has been inundated with PR experts pitching me on tried-and-true methods of integrating Periscope into media plans.

Imagine being an editor or journalist (remember those?) in today's world. You already know that everyone you talk to has an agenda... but now everyone has a shiny new app or technology tool to try to fool you too.

In that sort of environment, how can PR people break through the clutter?

Here's one approach:

Treat reporters and editors like real people. Help them do their jobs. Invest the time and effort to become a trusted source.

You can still be honest, and be human, and be an unapologetic advocate for your company or your cause.

Not everything in the world is fake. Take, for example, the Arthur Ashe Courage Award that ESPN gave to Caitlyn Jenner just the other day.

Wait... what??*


*- And it turns out this was true all along.
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