GE Illustrates How Not to Use Twitter

Last week, The New York Times published a story stating that General Electric paid no taxes, thanks, in part, to “fierce lobbying” that actually resulted in tax benefits. GE’s public affairs division thought it would be wise to try and refute this claim via Twitter. Bad move.

Business Insider received a tweet from GE yesterday asking them “to stop repeating the NYT’s ‘misleading attack’.” BI replied with some specific questions. The back and forth that ensued between BI and GE — questions, then silence from GE, then replies and more questions — ends with Henry Blodget writing that GE spokesperson Anne Eisele was working on an explanation in response to further evidence produced by the Times. We don’t see any updates after doing a quick scan of the site, so we’re thinking that Blodget is still waiting. *Update after the jump.

GE obviously realizes that Twitter is a powerful communications tool that can be used to get its message out far and wide to all of its audiences. Unfortunately, it sounds like GE didn’t map out the message before it started tweeting.

If the company had proof that the Times was wrong, it would take more than 140 characters to illustrate that definitively. Using Twitter to direct audiences to a place on its website where the proof was laid out for all to see would’ve been the better course of action.

Instead, they just asked Blodget to stop tweeting the Times story and maybe expected him to just fulfill the request. Moreover, the silence that greeted BI’s questions for more detail makes GE seem guilty even if it’s not. (The further evidence in the BI story implies that the NYT article is spot on. And implies that Rep. Charlie Rangel finally needs to go.)

We discussed this and other issues on today’s Morning Media Menu. Click here to listen in.

*Update: The Business Insider story has been updated with the latest from Blodget’s reporting. Conclusion: everyone is full of it.

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