Online, We're Judged By Everything We Write

Seth Godin has a nice post reminding us that in the online world "we are are judged almost entirely by our actions, usually based on just our fingers." Worth reading.

After Godin, read this post by Peter Shankman about Ketchum exec James Andrews.

Landing in Memphis for a Fedex meeting, Andrews posted this tweet:

True confession but I'm in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say "I would die if I had to live here!" 4:58 PM Jan 14th from twhirl (twitter:keyinfluencer)

According to Shankman, Fedex noticed and Fedex was not pleased. Their email response:

Mr. Andrews,

If I interpret your post correctly, these are your comments about Memphis a few hours after arriving in the global headquarters city of one of your key and lucrative clients, and the home of arguably one of the most important entrepreneurs in the history of business, FedEx founder Fred Smith.

Many of my peers and I feel this is inappropriate. We do not know the total millions of dollars FedEx Corporation pays Ketchum annually for the valuable and important work your company does for us around the globe. We are confident however, it is enough to expect a greater level of respect and awareness from someone in your position as a vice president at a major global player in your industry. A hazard of social networking is people will read what you write.

Not knowing exactly what prompted your comments, I will admit the area around our airport is a bit of an eyesore, not without crime, prostitution, commercial decay, and a few potholes. But there is a major political, community, religious, and business effort underway, that includes FedEx, to transform that area. We’re hopeful that over time, our city will have a better “face” to present to visitors.

James, everyone participating in today’s event, including those in the auditorium with you this morning, just received their first paycheck of 2009 containing a 5% pay cut… which we wholeheartedly support because it continued the tradition established by Mr. Smith of doing whatever it takes to protect jobs.

Considering that we just entered the second year of a U.S. recession, and we are experiencing significant business loss due to the global economic downturn, many of my peers and I question the expense of paying Ketchum to produce the video open for today’s event; work that could have been achieved by internal, award-winning professionals with decades of experience in television production.

Additionally Mr. Andrews, with all due respect, to continue the context of your post; true confession: many of my peers and I don’t see much relevance between your presentation this morning and the work we do in Employee Communications.

Ouch.

Andrews specializes in social media marketing.

Double ouch.

James Andrews has responded, explaining he was actually ranting about a bad hotel checkin, not about Memphis as a whole. And perhaps he was. But that wasn't how Fedex read it.

Regardless, the "I would die if I had to live here!" incident is another reminder of Seth's point: online, we're judged by everything we write.

Memphis skyline

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