Auto-tweets, Kawasaki and Takedowns: The Ugly Side of Social

The Monday afternoon bombings at the Boston Marathon in Massachusetts sent shockwaves across the world and social networks.  As has been the case since Facebook, Twitter and blogs became staples in our world, social media was the place to get immediate information.  While not always accurate, it was integral in the wake of this tragedy.

When events such as this occur, it is essential that we make sure our clients aren’t pushing product or seemingly “cheery” type posts during a tragedy of this manner. The world isn’t going to stop, but we as community managers and public relations pros need to be sensitive. This wasn’t the case with well-known social media personality Guy Kawasaki.

He was taken to task for continuing to send out auto-tweets during the bombings. His top response to being criticized on Twitter?

 

The tweet above knocking how many followers you have and if you can criticize him was pretty sophomoric.  The public response to that tweet took him to task. However, Steve Crescenzo took it a step further. He hacked Kawasaki to pieces in a Ragan.com blog.

In the blog, Crescenzo includes a tweet, where he calls Kawasaki an “insensitive prick.” He then adds:

There are egos, and then there are egos. Hard to believe that he wrote a book called “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.”

I think Chapter Four of that book is titled: “Talk down to and insult anyone who has fewer Twitter followers than you, as they know absolutely nothing about anything.

I’m all for holding people to a higher standard, when warranted. I thought Kawasaki could have responded better, especially as someone who is respected. But, the ax grinding by Mr. Crescenzo is unnecessary.

Crescenzo is a corporate communicator. I don’t think he would approve name-calling as a “best practice” for his clients. I know I wouldn’t. As PR pros, social media managers and marketers, calling our peers by names is unprofessional.

Want to criticize CNN for their massive reporting failure on Wednesday? Go ahead. If you are going to criticize Kawasaki for auto-tweeting though, you better find all the other pros and companies that did the same thing. Calling Kawasaki a “prick” in a blog piece on Ragan.com certainly calls more attention to Crescenzo than it does Kawasaki. Frankly, I think it’s a disgrace.  We can -and should- be better.

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  • Anonymous

    Hi Jason,

    Personally, I think Guy’s response on Twitter was juvenile and uncalled for. Despite his A-list status, that response is about as unprofessional as it gets. That being said, neither party responded in a mature, professional manner.

  • http://mindthegappr.com/ann-sense-blog/monday-morning-ann-sense-breaking-news-self-promotion-and-cherry-blossoms/ Monday Morning Ann-Sense: Breaking News, Self-Promotion, and Cherry Blossoms

    [...] Auto-tweets, Kawasaki and Takedowns: The Ugly Side of Social by Jason Mollica [...]

  • http://twitter.com/JasMollica Jason Mollica

    Thanks, @jessicamalnik:disqus! Yes, not exactly the response you’d want from two people who could be considered “leaders.”

  • http://geofflivingston.com/2013/04/22/devolving-civility/ The Devolving Civility Situation | Geoff Livingston's Blog

    [...] then there’s the virtual abuse Kawasaki suffered last week for a bad response to a criticism vetted during the Boston Marathon crisis [...]

  • http://spinsucks.com/communication/lessons-from-a-vacation-in-paris/ Lessons from a Vacation in Paris

    [...] certainly gives you a different perspective. So, while people were upset because Guy Kawasaki was autotweeting (and how he reacted when called out) or Ford sent a tweet too soon after the second suspect was [...]

  • http://twitter.com/mmiller20910 Mark Miller

    I agree with Mr. Crescenzo’s point about Guy’s auto-tweets, but I found his public attack and name-calling unprofessional — and I was very disappointed that Ragan Communications, one of the most reputable and objective communications organizations out there, chose to give him a wider platform.

  • http://twitter.com/JasMollica Jason Mollica

    @twitter-14035772:disqus That is what surprised me… that Ragan allowed Mr. Crescenzo to just blatantly name call like that. Disappointment is an understatement.

  • http://juliaprior.weebly.com Julia Prior

    I totally agree with you, Jason. This exchange was so unprofessional, and frankly, any kind of name calling (especially on the internet) brings me back to middle school. You’re right. We can be better, and we should be better than this.

    I don’t see why, if Crescenzo found the tweets that insulting, he couldn’t have sent Kawasaki a private message with some constructive criticism. That would have been the professional thing to do. To try and learn from each other to help grow the industry.

  • http://twitter.com/JasMollica Jason Mollica

    Thank you @juliaprior:disqus. You make a great point: why not send a quick message, privately. Kawasaki may, or may not, have replied, but it’s still better than the name calling. I didn’t find it to be Mr. Crescenzo’s finest hour, or Mr. Kawasaki’s, for that matter.

  • http://www.prconversations.com Judy Gombita

    [re: Marathon: Clear tragic news. Joe & I will continue w/commitment
    to convo, but no disrespect & understand if folks leave!] #usguyschat

    Jas, when I made the decision (and it was a decision) to continue participating in last Monday’s #usguyschat, a non-chat participant decided I was not only out of line, but decided to cast aspersions on my professionalism. I got:

    “I’m also human and feel that your response was horrific. And terrible “PR”.”

    [BTW, this was my "horrific" response: Wow RT @jgombita: @Cxxxx with all due respect, how is suspending a Twitter chat going to make a difference about the news outcome?]

    “@jgombita and you’re supposed to be a PR professional? Good God.”

    I do not follow the individual. The individual does not follow me. And yet. And yet. This individual decided I should not only be “judged’ but my reputation not only commented upon but RT’d.

    Regarding Guy and his supposedly outrageous behaviour, just like the infamous, insensitive Kenneth Cole tweet of yesteryear (Arab Spring), I would bet dollars to donuts that Guy (and Kenneth) had NOTHING to do with those tweets. Not the actual writing, the tweeting or even the approval.

    Both of them smacked of (male) 20-somethings, not savvy businesspeople who are pretty-much universally liked and respected.

    And I’d also like to comment that I find the publication in question [in this incarnation] to be VERY fond of publishing negative articles, particularly about “public relations.” So I didn’t find it overly surprising.

    I hope you also listened to Chris Brogan’s podcast about the day and how judgmental people were last Monday. I was really impressed with his global mindset, particularly as he now resides in Boston.

  • Guest

    [re: Marathon: Clear tragic news. Joe & I will continue w/commitment
    to convo, but no disrespect & understand if folks leave!] #usguyschat

    Jas, when I made the decision (and it was a decision) to continue
    participating in last Monday’s #usguyschat, a non-chat participant
    decided I was not only out of line, but decided to cast aspersions on my
    professionalism. I got:

    I’m also human and feel that your response was horrific. And terrible “PR”.

    [BTW, this was my "horrific" response in RT form: Wow RT @jgombita: @Cxxxx with all due respect, how is suspending a Twitter chat going to make a difference
    about the news outcome?]

    @jgombita and you’re supposed to be a PR professional? Good God.

    Note that I do NOT follow the individual. Note that the individual does NOT follow me. And yet. And yet. This individual decided I should not only be “judged’ but my professional reputation not only cast aspersions upon, but within a RT.

    Regarding Guy and his supposedly outrageous behaviour, just like the infamous,
    insensitive Kenneth Cole tweet of yesteryear (Arab Spring), I would bet
    dollars to donuts that Guy (and Kenneth) had NOTHING to do with those
    tweets. Not the actual writing, the tweeting or even the approval.

    Both of them smacked of (male) 20-somethings, not savvy businesspeople who are pretty-much universally liked and respected.

    And I’d also like to comment that I find the publication in question [in this incarnation] to be VERY fond of publishing negative articles, particularly about “public relations.” So I didn’t find it overly surprising.

  • http://twitter.com/JasMollica Jason Mollica

    @judygombita:disqus Thanks for your well thought response. For the record, I think the way you answered in #usguyschat was commendable… and professional. That is how we should act as pros.

    Again, my thanks!

  • Katelyn McCoy

    When tragedies strike, it is important to be sensitive in the social network stage. I agree that he was not correct in his tweet, and as a beginner, it is a good learning lesson for the future.

  • http://www.prconversations.com Judy Gombita

    Thank YOU, @twitter-21574752:disqus! BTW, the co-moderators of #usguyschat (with an assist from me), decided to make lemonaid out of the lemon situation. Next Monday’s Twitter chat (3-4 p.m. ET) will focus (in a sensitive manner) on professional and personal protocols in social media during a tragedy such as the Boston Marathon bombings.

    I’m sure @Ken_Rosen and @smsjoe (Joe Ruiz) would join me in inviting you and others interested in this important topic in attending.

  • http://www.prconversations.com Judy Gombita

    Thank YOU, @twitter-21574752:disqus! BTW, the co-moderators of #usguyschat (with an assist from me), decided to make lemonaid out of the lemon situation. Next Monday’s Twitter chat (3-4 p.m. ET) will focus (in a sensitive manner) on professional and personal protocols in social media during a tragedy such as the Boston Marathon bombings.

    I’m sure @Ken_Rosen and @smsjoe (Joe Ruiz) would join me in inviting you and others interested in this important topic in attending.

  • steve crescenzo

    Hi, everyone!

    Wow, it’s funny how different communities and people react to things. I think there about 100 comments on the Ragan article I wrote about Kawasaki, and 98 percent of them were very positive.

    And I received more positive tweets, e-mails, and other feedback about that article than anything I’ve ever written about, and I’ve been writing about the communications industry for more than 22 years.

    But out here, it’s all negative. Strange. I respect everyone’s right to not like the article . . . but I do take exception that I have an ax to grind with Kawasaki. I barely know the man. But I do know that his tweet that mocks anyone with less than 1500 followers was incredibly unprofessional, arrogant, and it flies in the face of everything the guy stands for, with his books on how to “enchant” people.

    As to why I didn’t send him a private message: do you think somebody that arrogant would read a private message?

    He tweeted in public, he should get criticized in public. Just like I have NO problem with any criticism of me out here. I mean, for those who posted that I should have reached out privately to Guy, why didn’t you reach out privately to me, instead of telling the whole world how unprofessional you think I am.

    Steve Crescenzo

  • steve crescenzo

    Hi, everyone! I think I posted in the wrong spot before . . .

    Wow, it’s funny how different communities and people react to things.
    I think there about 100 comments on the Ragan article I wrote about
    Kawasaki, and 98 percent of them were very positive.

    And I received more positive tweets, e-mails, and other feedback
    about that article than anything I’ve ever written about, and I’ve been
    writing about the communications industry for more than 22 years.

    But out here, it’s all negative. Strange. I respect everyone’s right
    to not like the article . . . but I do take exception that I have an ax
    to grind with Kawasaki. I barely know the man. But I do know that his
    tweet that mocks anyone with less than 1500 followers was incredibly
    unprofessional, arrogant, and it flies in the face of everything the guy
    stands for, with his books on how to “enchant” people.

    As to why I didn’t send him a private message: do you think somebody that arrogant would read a private message?

    He tweeted in public, he should get criticized in public. Just like I
    have NO problem with any criticism of me out here. I mean, for those
    who posted that I should have reached out privately to Guy, why didn’t
    you reach out privately to me, instead of telling the whole world how
    unprofessional you think I am.

    Steve Crescenzo

  • http://viewstream.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/how-should-brands-tweet-or-not/ Should brands auto-tweet in a crisis?? | On PR, HR, talent, people et al..

    [...] Auto-tweets, Kawasaki and Takedowns: The Ugly Side of Social (prbreakfastclub.com) [...]

  • http://twitter.com/JasMollica Jason Mollica

    Hi steve crescenzo Thanks for replying and reading. I don’t think what you see here on PRBC is negative. And I certainly wasn’t being negative in my opinion.

    Geoff Livingston’s blog last week really hits the nail on the head as to what is happening in social lately- http://geofflivingston.com/2013/04/22/devolving-civility/.

    We all need to be better… and maybe I could have done better to reach out to you to let you know how I felt. The bottom line though is we are seeing more and more vitriol on social media. It really needs to stop and it can start with us.

    Thanks again.

  • Lauren Drogo

    I agree that as PR professionals, we should look to refrain from name calling and unnecessary bashing to others on social media. Social media is a great tool to get a message out to a group quickly, but it is also very easy to be misunderstood since there are so few characters to use. Keeping that in mind when we post things on social media will help dissolve many of these kinds of sticky situations.