Canned PR tweets insult journalists

I can’t be the only journalist offended when a PR company includes suggested tweets with a press release.

Earlier this week I received a dull press release about an even duller technology company. Something happened that doesn’t qualify as news – I won’t bore you with the details.

Buried in the release was the message:

Tweet this:

Followed by a clickable tweet.

Clicking the item would open up my Twitter account and load in the company’s lame propaganda along with a hash tag for a targeted key word and a shortened link to marketing material on that company’s website.

I don’t like this for a number of reasons:

  1. If I clicked on the link I would effectively be providing the company with a free advertisement.
  2. Having the message go out under my Twitter name would amount to my endorsing the product. That’s not a good look for an independent journalist.
  3. The canned tweet puts words in my mouth – well at least metaphorically. Of course I could edit the words, but that’s not the point.
  4. The command to Tweet this is a bit rich. How about “would you mind tweeting this for us”?: No that wouldn’t change my course of action, but at least I wouldn’t come away with the impression I was deal with a bunch of bossy, arrogant control freaks.
  5. There’s a shortened URL embedded in the tweet. I wouldn’t be dumb enough to retweet the message without checking what’s on the other end of the link, but no doubt the PR company behind this thinks there will be people who would.
  6. Did I mention I don’t like being told what to do?

Getting a press release like this is insulting. Do some PR people think journalists are simply promotional drones waiting and willing to do their bidding?

4 thoughts on “Canned PR tweets insult journalists

  1. Very bad form all around. At most, they should be politely requesting you tweet it. Some PR peeps take a long time to learn they should never, ever be seen to be telling journalists what to do.

  2. That is lame. People don’t follow journalists so they can receive canned PR tweets – they follow so that they get the journalists take on events.

  3. A bit off topic, but I agree with your view of “Tweet this”. Another peeve of mine are those people who come out with a pseudo-enlightened idea and end with “Discuss”.

    What the hell? It sounds like someone who throws a bone in the middle of a pack of dogs and walk away to watch the fight from the sides.

  4. As a PR practitioner myself, I find this a little bizarre. I don’t think I have ever (or any of my colleagues) have considered including ‘suggested tweets’ in a press release or pitch email. Even pushing ‘suggested tweets’ internally, as in getting PR employees to promote client work via their personal Twitter accounts, is a bit of a touchy subject…

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