Oh Guardian….Big #Fail on your 9/11 Twitter Experiment

My first tweet of today was:

Oh Guardian…big #fail RT @heatherAtaylor: Guardian’s 9/11 mistake shows we’re still learning boundaries w Twitter http://t.co/kQTJecY #fb

Clicking on the link in the tweet: http://t.co/kQTJecY you’ll see that TheNextWeb has done a good job of summarising the Guardian’s big Twitter fail.

Marking September 11th, 2010 by establishing a Twitter handle called @911tenyearsago and tweeting out events such as “Flight 11 crashes into North tower of World Trade Center between floors 93 and 99″…..well, unsurprisingly it didn’t go down well with followers.

Guardian 9/11 Twitter Fail

Why was it wrong?

There were lots of clever explanations as to why so many people opposed using social media in this particular way to mark the anniversary of a terrible tragedy. Here’s my list:

  • Why indeed? Do we need another granular, painful account of these events? The horror assoicated with 9/11 is more than apparent ten years later – this is not a case of “lest we forget”. As @bobbiejohnson says in TNW’s article, “reliving is a lot different than “remembering”.
  • It’s misleading. I don’t care if the Twitter handle was “@911tenyearsago”….I look at the text of a tweet long before I look at the handle, and my first fear was actually that these events were happening all over again!
  • The nature of Twitter’s 140 character limit often means that news is divided up in to bites, or simply that stories are told over a series of tweets that cover an event. The very fact that this was not “coverage” and rather a re-telling of events over a Twitter feed was just plain…chilling. As the tweets appeared beside unrelated and more pleasant or appropriate tweets, they looked ridiculous and ill-willed.
  • They were not news, comments, helpful, funny or informative…….shouldn’t we (much less a media organisation) ensure our tweets are at least one of these things?

I am sure the list could go on, and I will no doubt think of more reasons why I found their approach so offensive, but I’ll leave Guardian to their big #fail for now and hope that their next experiment is both more interesting and appropriate.

Published by Jennifer Reid

Technology marketing specialist focussed on digital marketing, social media marketing, SEO and writing for the web.

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