New York Times’ Stephanie Clifford reported this morning that Pizza Hut will be hiring a College Student to Twitter on behalf of this ‘Yum! Foods’ Subsidiary. (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/20/business/media/20twitter.html?_r=1)
My Take: This is an obvious response to last Domino’s Fiasco. Come on…It’s not just a coincidence; they’re clearly trying to capitalize on their primary competitor’s PR debacle.
But is it a good idea to hire a college student to twitter on behalf of a big multinational brand like Pizza Hut? Can a college student really be trusted as the voice of any company? This isn’t reacting to last week’s social media PR Crisis, it’s practically begging for a repeat! Experienced PR and Communications professionals, can be trained in Twitter vernacular – why the college student? Is this whole thing a PR stunt, in and of itself? I hope for their sake that it is, and that this Twintern can’t just tweet whatever pops into his/her head
Second Mistake: IMHO, there’s no such thing as a “Social Media Campaign” or Twitter Campaign.” An active presence on these platforms is one that must be ongoing, perpetually linked to the brands movements. Not something that should change hands every few months. As Laura Halsch succinctly puts it, it’s a “Good idea to start listening and contributing. What happens to the account when the summer ends though?”
Amber Naslund aka @AmberCadabra says, “You have to start somewhere, and I support baby steps very much. But engaging in SM is a long term thing.”
I’m not sure what to say at this point, only because, Pizza Hut’s real intentions are unknown here. If they plan on having a supervisor look over the shoulder of the intern 24/7 – well, what’s the point? If they’re going to trust the intern with the reputation of the company…well, I can’t really bring myself to believe that they would actually do that, given how easy a single tweet can bring down even the most established of brands.
What do you think? Is this a good idea, a step in the right directions? Is Pizza Hut asking for trouble? Are we just not privy to their real, big picture, plan? If that’s the case, please speculate – what do you think they really have in mind?