I sleep well, too

I sleep well, too

Published: July 27th, 2010
If you've been around tech media for any length of time longer than, say, eight minutes, you become jaded about the word “leader.” Every vendor, in every press release, is the “leading” something. It's like the farmer who's out standing in his field. (I'm getting to a social media point in a roundabout way, but first let me say to all the bumfkins out there: Everybody isn't a leader. Usually, the ones who are don't call themselves that. They don't have to.)
What was my point? Right. So it amused the cynic in me when the other day, I was editing a wire article regarding allegations of a “blue screen of death” on the Deepwater Horizon, the doomed offshore oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, releasing the worst oil spill in U.S. history. I was confirming the full company name of the owner of the rig leased by BP Plc — Transocean Ltd. — through a Web search. One of the search results contained a snippet from press release boilerplate refering to Transocean as “the leading provider of drilling management services worldwide.”
I shared this with my Twitter followers, as many have the same anti-“leadership” stance as me. Moments later — I doubt it was more than two minutes — a retweet appeared from Transocean's PR department, prefaced with the words, “We sleep well.”
It's an interesting object study in social media. First, there was the immediacy of the response. I hadn't considered Transocean would be watching me; I'm not relevant to them. But any mention of Transocean *might* be relevant. (All I can say: Whatever your monitoring software is, it's fast.)
The there's the ambiguity of the message. I assumed the posture of the message was defensive, arrogant even, given the context. But I'm the only one who had that context. Could it not be that a PR type at Transocean found it flattering? (I doubt it, but still.) Ambiguity is dangerous; if a message could be read two ways, it will be.
Transocean obviously felt it couldn't leave a void for negative nellies like me to jump in. But cooler heads must have prevailed; by morning, the RT was gone from my mentions column in TweetDeck. I guess it was been deleted overnight.
I'll add to my resume that I “helped with the development of social media policy for the leading provider of drilling management services worldwide.” I'll sleep well tonight.

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