Twitter/Journalist Olympic Dust-Up Highlights Important PR Point

The world is all a-Twitter about Twitter because of British newspaper reporter Guy Adams, who had his Twitter account suspended for posting the work e-mail address of Gary Zenkel, head of NBC Olympics.

On Friday of last week, Adams complained to his 4,500 followers about NBC’s coverage—complaining that the network was “pretending” that an event shown in prime time was being broadcast live when actually it was taped. He then added the hashtag #NBCFAIL, which has become the go-to tag for complaints about NBC’s coverage.

When Twitter officials got wind of Adam’s post, they contacted NBC (who is partnering with Twitter for the Games), which agreed to move forward with a protest of the tweet. NBC claims that it didn’t realize the punishment for including someone’s e-mail in a post was suspension of the account—and that’s just what happened.

On Tuesday, Adams’ account was reinstated, and apologies were made by everyone except Michael Phelps. To boot, Adams gained about 12,000 followers from the incident.

Social media pundits called the incident a “watershed moment” for online censorship. But to me, the real watershed moment was this quote from Adams: “Doing a journalist’s job without Twitter these days is nigh impossible. It is an essential tool of my trade.”

Meaning PR pros who’ve been ignoring Twitter as a way to follow and communicate with journalists had better get off the starting blocks.

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01