@aplusk Has Lost His Voice

I believe this could possibly be the biggest faux pas or sell out in social media to date.  Below is @aplusk’s first “fake” tweet.

I say “fake” because we have no way of knowing if it is really him or not. He has officially handed the management of his Twitter account over to his media team at Katalyst Media to edit and monitor his tweets from now on.

So, why did this happen?

Ashton Kutcher simply made a mistake. He tweeted based on an assumption. He assumed that Joe Paterno, former Head Coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions, was fired “due to poor performance as an aging coach” and passionately tweeted:

“How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste”

I’m guessing most everyone in America is probably aware by now of the actual reason Paterno was removed. But for those who aren’t, it was the result of how he (Paterno) and the school handled sex abuse allegations against a former defensive assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky.

But one mistake does not call for an even bigger one. Which is what I think Kutcher is doing. Once he realized his mistake he admitted it and apologized, which I applaud. But for some reason he further decided to hand off the control of his tweets abandoning the very essence of social media. Below is an excerpt from his explanation as to why:

A collection of over 8 million followers is not to be taken for granted. I feel responsible to deliver informed opinions and not spread gossip or rumors through my twitter feed. While I feel that running this feed myself gives me a closer relationship to my friends and fans I’ve come to realize that it has grown into more than a fun tool to communicate with people. While I will continue to express myself through @Aplusk, I’m going to turn the management of the feed over to my team at Katalyst as a secondary editorial measure, to ensure the quality of its content. My sincere apologies to anyone who I offended. It was a mistake that will not happen again.

Yet, this leaves me with even more questions:

“A collection of over 8 million followers is not to be taken for granted.
What number of followers “is” acceptable to be taken for granted?

“I’ve come to realize that it has grown into more than a fun tool to communicate with people.
If it is not a fun tool to communicate with people now, exactly what is it now?

“I’m going to turn the management of the feed over to my team at Katalyst as a secondary editorial measure.”
Seriously? You are going to be censored?

“It was a mistake that will not happen again.
It was a mistake. How or why would you promise you will never make another mistake?

I began following @aplusk in 2008 when he had approximately 30,000 followers. I didn’t follow him just because he was a celebrity. He “got it.” He understood social media. He understood its’ implications. He had fun with it. He made friends and increased his fan base.

He was an early adopter who recognized that social media is based on honesty, transparency and authenticity. But he also understood its’ power – that it gives individuals a voice. A very loud voice as he beat CNN in a race to see who could reach 1,000,000 followers first.

He used his voice to feed his passion to help children of abuse…

He used his voice to express his opinions…

He even used his voice to reveal he likes cute little animals…

Today, he used his voice to sell out.

I hope that Ashton Kutcher changes his mind. I will miss the authenticity of his tweets. For instance, his most recent post would be gripping… if I knew for sure it was him.

Marketers, keep in mind. Without transparency, social media creates suspicion and doubt – not at all what you want to do when marketing to women.

Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email
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