The Changing Face of Online Conversations

It wouldn’t be hard to argue that the last month has seen Twitter reach it’s tipping point, with Stephen Fry, #uksnow and even the national newspapers getting in on the action. But there was one tweet that really stood out online in this maelstrom of mumbling – Robin Grant, MD of conversation agency we are social, accidentally sent out a direct message (meant for one person) to his 2,000 followers. So far, so ordinary. But here’s where it gets interesting – instead of deleting the comment, and pretending it never existed, he followed up with what you see above – an open invite for anyone to meet up with him for a coffee. In under 140 letters, he turned a technological slip into a great piece of PR for his company.

It’ll come as no big news to any of you, but conversations are changing online. With the ability constantly edit your content so simple, a certain level of confidence, willpower and humility is required to talk online. You might say it all started with the strikeout – way back in the formative years of the blogosphere, writers decided upon the etiquette of using the strikeout to allow their readers to keep track of any changes in a document. Prior to this, some online commentators had been burned by editing a document after it was already released into the wild (sometimes in order to correct mistakes brought to life in comments/email) and then appear rather stupid when they get caught out!

And in today’s world, “deleting” simply isn’t good enough. Google’s cache is constantly watching, and anyone with a bit of know-how can find old versions of current pages. So if you think you can change without anyone noticing, you might be in for a bit of a shock, and with an even bigger battle on your hands!

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