I came across this post “ Be Careful What You Post” by Peter Shankman on his blog talking about the dangers in posting your own opinions on a company blog. There was a specific situation where a Ketchum employee was blogging on Twitter on behalf of their client, which happened to be FedEx, and made some negative statements about the city of Memphis. He made these unpleasant remarks about Memphis just before he was about to make a presentation to a group of 150+ FedEx employees and an employee happened to find it. The whole “kicker” to the story is that the blogger did not know that a significant amount of FedEx employees are from Memphis and took it extremely personal and saw it as offensive. FedEx copied his letter and sent it to top Executives in both FedEx and Ketchum. FedEx responded to the Ketchum employee’s post and handled it well.
Fortunately, this lucky man did not lose his job. This should teach each and every PR practitioner a lesson! Be extremely careful what you post on the Internet. Not everything is confidential and also, know your client and the audience you are writing about. The Ketchum employee obviously did not know this about his client. Secondly, a written statement is much harder to retract than a verbal one so beware what your put on the internet. Many of us don’t realize the severity of this type of offense and what repercussions it can have.
As we know, the Ketchum employee was not fired. In my opinion, he should have been fired due to the reaction from the FedEx employees. Company blogs should always be used in a professional manner rather with a purpose. Personal blogs are different, you are representing yourself, and someone else’s reputation is not at stake. If you were the President of FedEx, how would you have handled this situation? Would you have fired the Ketchum employee why or why not?