Be Careful What You Post

By January 15, 2009Uncategorized

Have you joined my incredibly non-annoying, once-in-a-while email newsletter?

This particular Twitter posting came back to bite the agency person from Ketchum (New York office) who made some unflattering remarks about Memphis this morning before he presented on digital media to the worldwide communications group at FedEx (150+) people. Not only did an employee find it, they were totally offended by it and responded to the agency person. The kicker is that they copied the FedEx Coporate Vice President, Vice President, Directors and all management of FedEx’s communication department AND the chain of command at Ketchum. Mr. Andrews, the Ketchum presenter, did not take into account that many FedExers are native Memphians and are feircely defensive of their city and their company.

Mr. Andrews,

If I interpret your post correctly, these are your comments about Memphis a few hours after arriving in the global headquarters city of one of your key and lucrative clients, and the home of arguably one of the most important entrepreneurs in the history of business, FedEx founder Fred Smith.

Many of my peers and I feel this is inappropriate. We do not know the total millions of dollars FedEx Corporation pays Ketchum annually for the valuable and important work your company does for us around the globe. We are confident however, it is enough to expect a greater level of respect and awareness from someone in your position as a vice president at a major global player in your industry. A hazard of social networking is people will read what you write.

Not knowing exactly what prompted your comments, I will admit the area around our airport is a bit of an eyesore, not without crime, prostitution, commercial decay, and a few potholes. But there is a major political, community, religious, and business effort underway, that includes FedEx, to transform that area. We’re hopeful that over time, our city will have a better “face” to present to visitors.

James, everyone participating in today’s event, including those in the auditorium with you this morning, just received their first paycheck of 2009 containing a 5% pay cut… which we wholeheartedly support because it continued the tradition established by Mr. Smith of doing whatever it takes to protect jobs.

Considering that we just entered the second year of a U.S. recession, and we are experiencing significant business loss due to the global economic downturn, many of my peers and I question the expense of paying Ketchum to produce the video open for today’s event; work that could have been achieved by internal, award-winning professionals with decades of experience in television production.

Additionally Mr. Andrews, with all due respect, to continue the context of your post; true confession: many of my peers and I don’t see much relevance between your presentation this morning and the work we do in Employee Communications.

Be careful, people. In this day and age, you can’t afford not to.

  • Kirk Conway

    people friendly not in this town,
    all cliqish or intimidated,
    restaraunt owners dont even greet you as you walk in
    as thier too busy being jolly with thier so called friend’s.
    I could get more atten from a bum on the street than these people in this town,
    these woman are so intimidatd by a person thats real
    that they run to their little friends and hide.

  • Fayth

    I don’t get this

  • subliminalcriminal

    You must be really young. I think this is fairly simple. The point is–if you represent a company and are meeting with clients, you should be professional in your public communications–Twitter is public unless you set your account to private AND are very vigilant about who you accept on your account. This guy works for the ad agency reppin’ FedEx and was scheduled to make a major presentation the next day ABOUT TWITTER and social media in general. It’s ironic and sad that this moron didn’t have a clue that perhaps, just perhaps his client–an international company with a gazillion employees–may be following him on Twitter, too.

  • subliminalcriminal

    They were probably pissed that they had to sit through this guy’s presentation, especially after this rookie faux pas. Who wants to be lectured by someone who isn’t practicing what they preach? And keep in mind, Memphis is not a big metropolitan city like New York or Chicago. And in Memphis, FedEx pretty much employs and owns the entire city. At least the parts that Autozone and St. Jude’s Hospital don’t own. The city gets quite a bit of negative press already from having multiple COPS shows in its honor, among other things (Hustle and Flow anyone?), so they are probably understandably twitchy about getting ragged by someone they’re paying to rep them in advertising.

  • subliminalcriminal

    You are missing the point. If this was tweeted by Joe Blow of Idaho, you’d be right–who cares; however, it was tweeted by a specific marketing professional who was hired by his client–FEDEX–to come to Memphis and discuss twitter and how to effectively use social media. That makes this guy’s flippant comment actually a sad, ironic example of HOW NOT TO DO IT. As an expert on his field, he just jacked himself up–needlessly, because if he had thought about it, we wouldn’t be having this discussion and he wouldn’t be down in the jackbutt hall of fame of his professional. It’s akin to someone who has made their career working with disabled youth calling someone “a retard” or making some other flippant remark on Twitter or FB… It calls all of their previous good work to question and makes you wonder what else is going on. Not a good idea as a professional.

  • subliminalcriminal

    Freedom of Speech doesn’t give you Freedom from Consequences. We’ve all experienced that. Why should this guy be any different? And he didn’t lose his job or whatever, so why all the ying yang? He survived his minor misstep and is doing fine now!

  • subliminalcriminal

    Agree with your last sentence.

  • subliminalcriminal

    The problem was–he didn’t “blow the whistle on such treatment.” He didn’t specify that at all. And he did this publicly, while representing his company. Not a good idea. He should have two separate accounts (personal and professional). If you’re going to use Twitter as your diary, be ready to roll with the punches.

  • subliminalcriminal

    Um, doubt FedEx is going to miss “your business,” but I think it’s great that you’re willing to show your displeasure by putting your money where your mouth is. I wish more of us were able to do this more often! And I’m trying to remember to support the post office more regularly. The convenience of online bill paying has really stopped most of my patronage.

  • subliminalcriminal

    Andrews was actually tweeting about a bad (racist) experience he had at a Marriott hotel in COLLIERVILLE, Tn (the Memphis white-flight suburb). His company later asked him not to discuss the incident as racist, which he complied with to try to support Ketchum. He discusses the twitter post in more detail here:

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