There is a persistent impression that the world today is beyond the control of the ordinary man, that corporatism, corruption and political machinations will always hold sway over the ordinary man and woman. It has been one of the themes of this blog that “it aint necessarily so”. Today was one of those days when the ordinary guy wins over thin-skinned and vain corporations.
The story was certainly concerning. A British journalist Guy Adams, tweeted on Twitter that the coverage by NBC, who have paid for the US rights of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, was dire, and that it should have been broadcast in its entirety rather than being held over for a better hour so they could milk more advertising revenue. So incensed was Guy that he suggested that if others were as infuriated as he was they should contact Gary Zenkel on his office email which Guy then gave out. Not you notice his home address, or his home telephone number but his office email. Like the number of the boss of a company where you complain about shoddy goods?
Twitter then suspended Guy’s account on the spurious grounds that this was personal information. Sure, and if you emailed Barak Obama at Obama@whitehouse.gov its going to be the bold boy himself that will read it. Nope, he has staff for that. So why Twitter’s sensitivity?
Well, it seems Twitter has partnered up with NBC for a very lucrative deal re the Olympics and decided to alert NBC to the vile appalling stuff that Guy had said, i.e. that their coverage has been piss-poor, dull and not very good. NBC, now notified, complained and Guy’s account was suspended.
The result was a publicity disaster for both Twitter, who have seen the goodwill they have built up over years evaporate in an instant and NBC who come over as arrogant, thin-skinned and tin-eared. After the story stormed round the world’s mainstream press and exploded across (irony of ironies) Twitter and the blogosphere, where bloggers lined up to slag off NBC, some sensible grown-ups took over and NBC came to its senses and backed down.
A victory then for the new social media as a political tool? Oh yes, and it’s interesting to see people are beginning to test its strength.
As for NBC? Well they really want better staff. My favourite bit from their coverage was when Sir Tim Berners-Lee was introduced to the crowd, who cheered their admiration uproariously. NBC’s reaction was one of “Who he?” followed by the bright idea that in order to find out they might Google his name.
Hilarious. Best bit of their coverage yet.
Copyright David Macadam 2012