Ian Monk: Oh the fakery and banality of it all

Twitter co-founder Ev Williams was reverentially interviewed on BBC Two's Newsnight last week, confirming London as the tweeting capital of the world.

Ian Monk
Ian Monk

Twitter had again succeeded in doing what it does best: promoting itself. Indeed, having been seduced into sampling its offering, I (and some of my younger colleagues) now firmly believe self-glorification is the prime function of the craze. I am certain Williams will neither lose sleep nor shed a tear over the fact that my company this week unsubscribed from the service.

Having followed various twittering dialogues, I have come to the conclusion that many, if not most, are inherently fake, either in sentiment or authorship. That is, the ones that aren't too banal to interest any individual or organisation possessed of half a brain cell.

For a PR company, one of the main virtues of tweeting is supposedly to build its own brand through incessant chirping about what its staff and clients are up to. Yet surely the brand values we propagate and protect should be those of our clients, not our companies?

The constant temptation spawned by the need to tweet is to trade away client privacy. The antidote to this seems to be to create 140-character fabrications about them, with or without their blessing.

Reputation managers and publicists should be puppeteers pulling the strings in the shadows, not tumbling clowns seeking centre-stage attention.

Twitter has hitched a ride on the digital revolution, largely to publicise its own overweening ego.

Stephen Fry was a national treasure long before he began tweeting. Yet the swarms of twitterers who follow Fry and Jonathan Ross are used as a tool to plug Twitter.

It's considered news that the Iranian election protests were conveyed on Twitter. Yet, had the self-reverential service not existed, the cries for freedom would just as surely have been relayed by mobile phone or email.

Twitter's PR spin has been to make itself the story, rather than simply a gimmicky messenger. Its distraction of much of the PR and media industry is a case study in irony.

- Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in