How foreign despots should deal with Twitter critics: Unfollow

Twitter is fueling revolutions but when it comes to dealing with it's own bad press it leaves much to be desired.
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor

Here is a way to deal with bad news, simply "unfollow." That's what Sean Garrett, Twitter's Chief of Corporate Communications did with me following a series of posts critical of Twitter.

I had pointed out a disconnect between Twitter founders Ev Williams (@Ev) and Biz Stone (@Biz) chatter in public forums about the company's strong social resonsibility. At the time, I was glad to hear of it, even though I hadn't heard about it before then and it sounded a bit suspicious, as if it had been "bolted on" for PR purposes.

Nevertheless, I was happy to be proved wrong about Twitter's sudden support for social responsibility. Until I saw that Twitter was threatening to leave San Francisco unless it got massive tax concessions.

How does Twitter's support for corproate social responsibility square with trying to get out of paying local taxes? Surely, local taxes support your local community, that's where you work and live. Why would you want to short change your local community?

I asked this question on Twitter, Facebook, here and elsewhere. The only response I got from Twitter was that Sean Garrett, Twitter's head of Corproate Communications "unfollowed" me on Twitter instead of offering a response to Twitter's position on local taxes.

Wow. What a great case study in crisis communications: unfollow. That's what all the Middle East despots should have done -- unfollowed all their opposition.

I'm sure that sticking your head in the sand works. After all, if you don't see any bad news, there is no bad news.

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