#PRFAIL: Egypt, Mubarak, and Social Media

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I sat transfixed by Twitter yesterday — amazed on the one hand by an Egyptian revolution unfolding before my eyes in real time, and astounded on the other by two groups of people who seemed entirely tone deaf to this stirring show of liberating communication: the Egyptian government and social media/PR gurus.

Seriously, while the Twittersphere was a sea of inspiring retweets, shared tactics for Egyptians circumventing Mubarrek’s Internet shut-down, and Twitpics of protestors peacefully taking over standard police duties, my main stream in Hootsuite was filled with…the usual mix of self-promotion, helpful tips, and amusing asides. In one column, “My son died yesterday, but my remaining children and I will continue to fight”; in another, “Find your voice on Facebook,” and “How the ad dept can use Twitter.” You’re kidding me, right?

I’m not saying that the business world needs to stop in its tracks and be awed by the self-organizing power of 140 characters. But those who preach about the transformative potential of hyper-communicative technology can’t really understand that potential fully — its reach and power — if they don’t look at political examples in Tunisia, Egypt, and maybe next Sudan, and see the same individual empowerment and interconnectedness that gets them excited when it touches their brand.

The consumers whose loyalty comes through a sense of investment and communication may very well apply those same standards to their governments. And, politics aside, anyone whose interest in a social world is more than skin-deep will sit up and take notice of that in action.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kate Schackai
Kate combines a technical understanding of web 2.0 with classic PR savvy, resulting in online communications that both humans and Google love. She joins Crawford from WordPress development firm TCWebsite, where she worked in online marketing and search engine optimization.

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