Meg Whitman's campaign shows how not to use Twitter

Bit.ly-condensed link intended to take viewers to cop endorsement leads users to cross-dressing bassist video

California gubernatorial candidate and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman might rightly claim tech savvy as one of her skills, but that knowledge hasn't trickled down to her campaign staff.

Meg Whitman's campaign shows how not to use Twitter
A recent Tweet from California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's campaign (above) included a Bit.ly condensed URL that took viewers to an unusual music video on YouTube (below).

In a recent Twitter update sent out to Whitman campaign followers, Whitman's press secretary included a Bit.ly link intended to take clickers to a site with an endorsement from San Diego County Police Association. Instead, the link took them to a YouTube video titled "K-ON Fuwa Fuwa Timebass" featuring a bespectacled, long-haired Japanese man dressed in a pink tutu and thigh-high stockings, rocking out on a bass guitar in a bedroom.

The Tweet, which pushes the 140-character limit, reads as follows: "SD Cnty Sheriff Assoc says @Whitman2010 4 gov! RT: @Murphy4MegNews: CA Cops get it: Jerry Brown is too soft on crime. http://bit.ly/bNCAV."

Presumably, Whitman's press secretary Sarah Pompei somehow botched copying and pasting a shortened link from Bitly, a site similar to Tiny URL, through which users can freely condense long URLs to concise, Twitter-friendly forms.

A copy-and-paste error is understandable and forgivable. What's curious, though, is that as of noon Pacific on Oct. 20, the Whitman campaign had not yet removed the offending Tweet, which went up at 4:40 p.m. Pacific on Oct. 18. Perhaps the campaign decided the publicity -- the video is up to nearly 900,000 views -- was worth the ridicule?

The lesson in all this is that as more organizations -- whether political or commercial -- come to rely on social media such as Twitter to reach their audience, they take pains to ensure they're using it properly. It's far too easy to make one's brand or candidate look, well, a little ridiculous (if not worse) thanks to a momentary lapse in judgment or computing ability.

This article, "Meg Whitman's campaign shows how not to use Twitter," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.

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