Online marketing news – Twitter not so hot for EU summit

Online marketing news – Twitter not so hot for EU summit

When EU summit organisers in Brussels embraced social networking in the form of a giant “tweet-wall” it must have seemed like a great online marketing gimmick, but when Italian Twitter users realised their comments regarding Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi would become a live feed to the delegates the screens were filled with insults.

The wall had been in use for only two hours before it was pulled after all postings tagged “#EUCO” were fed to two large plasma screens in the main hall where 27 European leaders were debating measures to respond to Europe’s current financial debt.

However, anti-Berlusconi messages quickly began to appear on the screens, including allusions to his sex-life, alleged vote rigging and putative connections with the mafia.

When high-profile blogger Joe Litobarski discovered the feed’s destination, he wrote, “Uh oh. Italians have realised tweets tagged #EUCO shown on Twitter wall at #EU Council meeting expect mayhem.”

But when Italian designer known as mpietropoli discovered the Twitter feed he decided to bombard the screens with embarrassing Berlusconi quotes, including:

“Mussolini never killed anyone. Mussolini used to send people on vacation in internal exile.”

The council press team official who organised the tweet-wall, Dana Manescu said, “We had the tweet-wall up for two hours in the main hall, but it wasn’t moderated and a lot of the tweets were … well, very, very frank.

“The point was not to show insulting messages about Berlusconi. If anyone from the Italian delegation saw it, it would hurt their sensibility.”

As a vehicle for free speech the unmoderated Twitter feed idea was extremely successful, however as an online marketing tool for politicians, press officers may have to have a rethink.

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