The Federal Communications Commission chairman's first foray into social media bombed today as Julius Genachowski—set to take questions via a Twitter chat at 1:30 p.m. for a half hour—failed to show for the first 20 minutes.
Apparently, Genachowski wasn't tagging his answers with the #askjulius hashtag that participants were using to send him questions.
As a result, the discussion, at least for those following the #askjulius hashtag, devolved into a lot of snark.
As one tweeter noted, it was a rookie mistake. Genachowski can be forgiven, but it's hard to believe there aren't any social media geniuses at the FCC who could have made sure the chairman of the agency in charge of the nation's airwaves and telecommunications didn't blow it.
Bottom line? For an agency emphasizing policies to expand Internet broadband and find more wireless spectrum to meet rising demand, this just didn't look good.
Not only did the FCC appear Twitter illiterate, but the agency made it worse by trying to convince other reporters not to write about the great Twitter chat debacle. Instead of a simple "mea culpa" or "we learned our lesson and we'll do better next time," the FCC tried to cover it up. And in Washington, cover-ups rarely work.
Even better, sources said Genachowski was actually at Twitter headquarters during his Twitter fail.
Here's a sampling of the Twitter conversation, which never really got off the ground.