Social Media Today and Salon.com: Be Careful When You Send

New Jersey firm Social Media Today,  was slammed by Salon.com  in July for attempting to help Chevron greenwash their image.

Justion Elliott, a Salon.com War Room reporter, said he “was accidentally sent a confidential presentation for Chevron from a Social Media Today representative [he'd] earlier corresponded with on another story.”

Elliot then posted that presentation online in the same article.

The elements of the story and the comments in response to the article from Social Media Today CEO Robin Cary and an SMT employee all highlight the difficulties of walking the “independent editorial” line and courting sponsorship.

But the issue that we want to focus on here is the fact that the presentation was even sent to Elliott at all!

Unless SMT was attempting to get more coverage of its firm (very, very doubtful), we can assume that sending this presentation was a mistake.

Unlike the Google/Facebook scandal, now a moot point with the introduction of Google+, where Burson employees intentionally sent correspondence to journalists who then published it, the Chevron presentation was a complete accident. A big PR accident.

If you are in PR, how would you handle an issue like this? Do you think Social Media Today is handling it properly? What else could they do to handle this situation?




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