Canadian Interview: Ed Lee

Ed Lee, managing director of com.motion, spoke to PRWeek about why social media is not a stand-alone tool, why he's not a Twitter fan, and his thoughts on that now infamous twitter dust-up.

Ed Lee is the new managing director of com.motion, the social media division of Veritas Communications (he replaces Keith McArthur, who joined Rogers Communications as senior director of social media and digital communications). Previously, Lee was the account director* of iStudio, the Internet communications arm of Fleishman-Hillard in Toronto. He spoke to PRWeek about why social media is not a stand-alone tool, why he's not a Twitter fan, and his thoughts on that now infamous twitter dust-up.

Can a social media campaign work as a stand-alone communications tool?
If you are looking at social media as a silver bullet to cure all of your communication ills, then you're going to be bang out of luck. But if you look at it as part of a larger program to reach your end stakeholders, it can be a very powerful channel. I feel with the shift of the general public to the online space, we really have to look at online and not just social media stuff. You also need to integrate Web 1.0, which might not be as sexy but you can do a lot of things with a great e-mail program tied with what else you're doing on the Web.

How do you feel about Twitter as a communications tool?
I am pretty down on Twitter. I love to hate it. It's been a couple of years now, and I've resisted it because I think, it's just a Facebook thing. It is pretty cool to use from a personal standpoint, but from a business perspective, it would have to be a compelling case for me to advise a client that Twitter is the way to go. Perhaps as part of an integrated strategy, if we could think of a way to leverage it, then it could be very powerful. But you have to think about what kind of people you are trying to reach, and if they are on Twitter, what are you going to do to engage them? 

What do you think of that now infamous Twitter exchange involving the Financial Post reporter?
That is a really good example for professionals, business people, and students everywhere, that whatever you say online can and will be used as evidence against you. It will be indexed forever now. Even though the reporter deleted all of his Twitter updates, someone took a screen cap of them all, so that's why you always have to be very careful about what is happening to your online reputation. If you look up the reporter's name, the [Twitter argument] is one of the first things you see. As a marketing consultant, April Dunford reacted just as I would counsel a client to react to someone who is flaming them online. Take a step back, don't address the issue on their level, but yours. She took the high level, was very calm, very cool, and collected.

*The article incorrectly stated that Lee was managing director of iStudio. His correct title is account director. We regret the error.

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