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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tweeters beware: your brand could be hijacked

Twitter-food-arts.jpg
Today I noticed a strange thing: Food Arts Magazine's Twitter feed was putting up spammy links about weight loss and resources for moms. I wondered atweet (does that work? Like aloud but on Twitter) if the feed had been hacked or if the well-regarded magazine was pimping its Twitter presence out to advertisers. As unlikely as that seemed, I was shocked to receive a response from @foodartsmag saying "pimping out? it's called communicating..."
The conversation continued, but apparently it was a case of a very chatty hacker. I just spoke to Abby Lewis in the editorial department of Food Arts, who said that the Twitter account was started mainly as a way to boost subscriptions (the magazine is free to restaurant professionals), and that no one had really taken ownership of the feed. A few hours after the hack, it appeared that no one in editorial had any idea the feed was hawking weight-loss pills.
There's a new media/social networking lesson to be learned here, but I'm not the one to teach it. Suffice it to say, your online presence is a huge part of your brand. It can seriously damage your credibility by not guarding it carefully.

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