How To Write Tabloid Blog & Tweet Posts


Less virtual rock throwing was one of my wishes that I discussed with Leesa Barnes on her 2009 Social Media Predictions podcast. Barely three weeks into 2009 and we still have a long way to go.

Back in 2005 - 2007 blog firestorms were common place now it seems T-storms (Twitter storms) are in vogue. This week a nice guy I know was called out because of a tweet he wrote. Since he works for a large agency his tweet was picked up and spun round and round the Blogosphere and Twitterville. It's one thing to call out a company about a strategy you disagree with but quite another to embarrass a person. I thought we in the business social media world learned the lesson that it is people who are behind blogs and tweets not the technology. Guess not.

Okay people if you're going to write Tabloid Blogs and Twits (yes I said twits) .. let's get it right!

Tabloid blogger busted 10 Tips On How To Write Tabloid Blog & Tweet Posts

1. Pick a person who has colored outside the lines.

    Bonus points if he/she works for a large PR or advertising agency or major brand.

2. Position yourself as an expert in social media.

    Bonus points if you have actively worked in social media for less than 3-weeks

3. Critically detail where the person went wrong.

    Bonus points if you include a photo of the person

4. Explain how you would have handled the situation.

    Bonus points if you work in that you are available to consult with the company to help improve its social media strategy.

5. Tweet your blog post including a link to your post.

    Bonus points if your tweet is RT (re-tweeted)

6. Search optimize your post.

    Bonus points if your post is Digg-ed, linked to or stumbled on

7. Create a title that is controversial

    Bonus points if it is search optimized

8. Try .. but not too hard .. to get a quote from the person or organization

    Bonus points if no one responds giving you another opportunity to show how smart you are by telling how you would have handled the situation pre and post "incident"

9. Focus on the most sensational aspects

    Bonus points if you include that in both your posts and tweets

10. What is your tip?

      What would give bonus points?


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I thought it was just me who thought this story was ridiculous. I felt so bad for him, he didn't say anything more then anyone else would have when we are letting off steam. In fact, I am sure others have said worse things about other people, places, things.
I think the story should have been more about the person who called him on it and sent the letter to their boss. Why? Must have made them feel powerful. No other reason to do something so low.

Posted by: Michelle Kostya on Jan 24, 2009 2:02:46 AM

what has twitterville become? thanks for pointing this out.

Posted by: andrew on Jan 24, 2009 8:12:11 AM

I learned a long time ago that no one ever really grows up. It's like Kindergarden with lattes. Kids can be cruel and adults can be worse, especially when technology makes the playground global. That said, never, ever write anything you wouldn't be proud to have viral. Sadly, it's only the mistakes that people jump on.

Posted by: Carolyn Wilman on Jan 24, 2009 11:10:20 AM

I wish I would have been following this. Yes, the twitter elite would rather spend time drinking their dinner and tweeting their meetings than being real. That's the BIG shame.

Thanks for this post Toby!

Posted by: jeneane on Jan 24, 2009 2:30:13 PM

Hi Toby... enjoyed this post. But I must admit that I have a somewhat different take. I've only read the 200 or so comments on Shankman, and not other blogs about this, so my view may be limited. Most of the comments were about the need to be careful what you say in social media, or the action of the Fed Ex employee, rather than any unkind words about the guy himself. So I think this story went viral because it touched upon some wider issues: respect for your client, being aware that everything you say is out there, forever, etc. And there is a decidedly 1.0 side to this too - the animosity in-house staff sometimes feel toward the consultant/agency that flies in from New York to tell them what they think they already know for a bunch of bucks (especially after they've just received a pay cut!)

Posted by: Frankie Johnson on Jan 26, 2009 8:11:54 AM

Toby, you make some great points here. It can be disheartening to see people pick on someone. But I think Frankie Johnson makes a good point, too. That is, that the reason the story took off wasn't because people were picking on Mr. Andrews, but because it highlighted the power of social media.

Alternatively, I think it's safe to say that none of us would have wanted to be at the center of the firestorm. My heart goes out to Mr. Andrews on that front. We've all made mistakes, but very few of us have had to suffer through all the postings about this one.

Posted by: Jamie Turner on Jan 26, 2009 11:07:23 AM

I love this post Toby. You managed to have a sense of humor about something that surely wasn't very funny.

One has to have thick skin to deal with the trolls and bullies for sure - but a sense of humor is the best tool there is.

Posted by: B.L. Ochman on Jan 27, 2009 5:51:21 PM

I respect your sense of humor especially in light of the fact that it wasn't funny and enjoyed the post very much.

Posted by: Sharon Wilson on Jan 29, 2009 8:24:22 PM

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