Yesterday the NY Times published a story about Pizza Hut's quest to hire a summer Twintern -- an intern that would spend the summer handling Twitter for Pizza Hut. I found it odd, especially coming on the heels of the Domino's fiasco. So I asked around Twitter to see if anyone else thought it a good or bad idea. There was a good range with folks like James McGinn, Stephanie Busack, Anna Whitlow, @Schwalb (sorry she doesn't list her name in her Twitter bio) all felt it was a good iea.
Others like Tiffany Starnes, Dustin McQuary, Charles Neville felt it wasn't such a great idea and/or that it was just mostly a PR Stunt. Lastly, Charles Miller, of DirectTV indicated they too were doing Twintern's but pulling from a base of Grad students steeped in business analytics and not just a college kid who likes pizza, Twitter and a summer in Dallas [my words not his].
Personally, I tend to favor the unethical "PR stunt" theory for a few reasons.
- They advertised it in the NY Times. If you're looking for a kid that gets Twitter, why not just use Twitter to find your Twintern? Folks certainly would have RT'd it, in fact they did.
- They defined common Twitter terms - again, any newbie would know what those mean so why define them in the ad? Kind of defeats the whole knowlege of Twitter angle eh?
- They point you to the Domino's video on YouTube. For me, this is both ethically wrong and completely unecessary. They've already told applicants they will need to monitor and notify if they see anything negative.
Now if they are serious, and they very well may be, a couple of other issues jump out at me.
- On one hand I like the whole embedded journalism thing with using the Twintern as a Social Media Journalist.. cool idea and something different.
- But nothing noted about how the Twintern will need to "engage the Pizza Hut community," or grow it or anything. Twitter is first and foremost a conversation medium, so very odd that this job duty would be left out, don't you think?
Personally, I think the effort shows that Pizza Hut doesn't really get Twitter, Social Media or Crisis Communications 2.0 -- as one Tweeter put it in their reply to me:
What do you think? Anyone from Pizza Hut reading this? Tell us what you're trying to do and why? Explain the curious timing (coming on the heels of the Domino's disaster). Why did you feel the need to point folks to the Dominos YouTube video? Let me know folks, I'm really interested in getting more thoughts on this subject.