Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Fake Stephen Conroy Debacle: Telstra Fails

No time for anything. Soon I will not even have time to complain about not having time. I am savouring complain-time while I can, yet I have time for this quick one.

Fake Stephen Conroy was outed yesterday as Leslie, an employee of Telstra, Australia's largest telecommunications company. As a result, Fake Stephen was forced off twitter.

Telstra deny this, saying in a blog post that "Telstra did not shut down Leslie's Twitter account."

I don't believe it. I side with Leslie/Fake Stephen on this one.

But that's all backstory. This is what really pisses me off about the whole thing: At the end of that blog post I mentioned earlier, Telstra crow about how "Telstra is learning the best way to engage in social media - notice our response has come in the form of a blog versus a media release" and that "We believe transparency promotes credibility.  This post is about getting the facts into the open."

If Telstra were really concerned about transparency and being masters of engaging social media they wouldn't have restricted the comments on their blog to members only. I wanted to leave a comment, but I could only do so if I filled in the following form:


That's a lot of compulsory fields, Telstra! Would you like my first-born as well?

There is no way I am creating a special account with your website simply so I can comment. It appears nobody else does either. At the time of writing there is only one comment on that blog post. Commenting on a blog should be a given.

The kicker? Telstra's blog is called Now We Are Talking. No Telstra, we are not talking. Your blog is talking at us, claiming things as fact that are contested elsewhere, and you are making it as difficult as possible for us to talk back at you. You have also killed a clever, whimsical, Web 2.0 parody of one of our foremost politicians. You fail at social media. Go home and let us have Fake Stephen back. He never did anything to hurt you (ever!)

1 comment:

  1. I think you misunderstood the title of their site.

    "Now We (Telstra) Are Talking. [Please shut up and take a number.]"

    Infact in a lot of ways that website is like Kath Day-Knight saying, "Kimmy, look at moiye, look at moiye."

    Truth is a lot of people I follow on Twitter, and who follow me on Twitter, actually work for Telstra in some capacity. I have reason to believe the corporation is trying. But I still wouldn't use their services if my life depended on it. (Well, maybe then.)

    To be honest I was feeling incredibly conflicted about the whole "No Clean Feed" thing because it is just awful, but it did produce Fake Stephen Conroy who really did make life a more amazing experience. I laughed, but it also made me think about things I had never considered before. Boiled down to its core components so much of political rhetoric doesn't really mean anything.

    And while we 'filter' (pun unintended) this particular instance through the funnel of 'No Clean Feed' and Telstra in particular, it is just another telling example of the way that businesses that employ us severely limit our online participation and activities. That really irritates me. We all know people who have wonderful things to offer the internet but who are doing it covertly not because there's anything particularly offensive or threatening about what they produce, but simply because their employer has threatened them in some way. And I think primarily of teachers, which to me is perversely amusing... because what is the internet's greatest selling point and potential if not the sharing of knowledge and information?

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