Public Sector: We were 'frittered' on Twitter site

People keep calling me a Luddite because I have little interest in the world of Twitter. Up until just a few days ago I saw very little reason for getting involved in sending 140-character snippets of information to a tiny circle of people. That was until I discovered the LGA was being 'frittered' - in other words, fraudulently twittered.

Almost by chance, the media team stumbled upon a Twitter site apparently run by our chief executive. It had his picture, tweets and almost 500 followers. The major problem is that he didn't set up the site and it certainly wasn't him twittering.

Three weeks ago we contacted Twitter to ask it to remove the site - we have still heard nothing. Whoever is running this site is gathering followers by following hundreds of other people and there is not a damn thing we can do to stop it.

For the reputation of any organisation, frittering is a new, and extremely disturbing, phenomenon. Web 2.0 has not only brought an entirely new way for organisations to communicate with people - it has also brought an entirely new way for people to damage the reputation of that very same organisation.

If a personality or a chief executive is impersonated on Twitter and has enough followers, then the damage that could be done is immense.

It is a sorry state of affairs that any organisation in the public, private or charity sector now needs to jump into Twitter and register every name it can think of in relation to either itself or the organisation, to stop it being used and abused.

If Twitter doesn't sort its act out soon it will be discredited as a place to do business. For those who want to be at the forefront of communications this would be a sad development.

PR people, whether they like or loathe Twitter, need to get on it quickly. If the IT team blocks the site, then it needs to be overruled. The fallout from a frittered message from your head honcho to hundreds of trusted contacts would be immense - especially if you didn't even know where the comments came from.

Richard Stokoe is head of news at the Local Government Association

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

We Are Social owner BlueFocus reports revenue growth of 65 per cent

We Are Social owner BlueFocus reports revenue growth of 65 per cent

Chinese marketing services group BlueFocus has reported a revenue increase of 64.8 per cent year on year to more than $578m (£343m) in 2013.

Three more agencies sign up to PR Internships For All campaign

Three more agencies sign up to PR Internships For All campaign

Brunswick, Cohn & Wolfe and MSL Group London have joined the PRWeek/PRCA initiative to boost diversity in the PR industry, which has also attracted support from Leeds Metropolitan University's Business School.

Seeing red: giving PR teams a real business objective

Seeing red: giving PR teams a real business objective

Speed Communications director John Brown talks client behaviours he can't stand.

Growing number of clients plan PR budget increases

Growing number of clients plan PR budget increases

The number of marketers planning to increase their PR budgets during 2014 has climbed, according to the latest quarterly Bellwether survey by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.