Thursday, October 14, 2010

No Harm Intended

Of course there wasn't. There never is.

Little did I think 24 hours ago that I'd be sitting in a Paris bistro going to war with the Polkaroo of all things.

It all started last night on Facebook when a friend of mine tipped me off to this bizarre tweet from one of Canada's most beloved kids' TV characters: "Polkaroo! RT @tvo: Should prostitution be legal? Tonight at 9 on TVO a farmer opens a brothel to support his quadriplegic wife in A Good Man".

Wow, I thought. Clearly must be an auto-tweet social media #fail. Why would a big galumphing barely verbal kids TV icon be talking hookers and cat houses? Given that the entire Polkaroo tweet stream is TVO retweet show listings, made a seemingly safe assumption that it was some kind of bot. I wasn't the only one who thought so, and kinda chortled at it last night. It happens, eh? This damn social media. Too many people out there in Twitterland to bother hand crafting 140 characters, FCS.

So I replied "Autotweet #fail. RT @"Polkaroo! RT @tvo: Should prostitution be legal? Tonight at 9 on TVO a farmer opens a brothel to support his quadriplegic wife in A Good Man".

I mean, maybe a helpful wakeup call that a pre-school hero, if one was to think "brand" and "authentic voice", might not really want to be heading down this particular path.

Most companies, products, people and 'brands' make some type of minor misstep in their adoption of social media. In my mind a line had been crossed. A bit funny, but no harm no foul. Maybe a retuning of the bot tweets would be the fall out (and what I thought should happen).

But no, gentle readers. I was wrong. In fact, I was informed today by TVO itself that:

@mi6agency @CherylMcKinnon to clarify: yesterday's tweet was not an autotweet nor did it #fail. Lots of retweets, new followers and viewers

My heart sank a little. And then I got angry. The "my tax dollars at work" head of steam is one thing.... but to take one of Canada's most beloved pre-verbal mutants and whore out its image and voice to ... errr... umm... whores, was a bit beyond the pale.

And so I replied: "@tvo so pimping out a child-centric "brand" for followers and ratings on a clearly not child apprpriate [sic] subject is #goodsocialmedia?"

To which I was assured by the official @tvo account"@CherylMcKinnon @polkaroo RTs to an adult audience to raise awareness of the complex issues in TVO's programs. No harm intended"

When I thought this was a mistake, it was kind of a giggly ... oops! Bet they won't do that again reaction.

When I was told it was on purpose, the bile rose. Because one of the most respected, educational, level-headed television channels in North America chose to pimp out its own.

Just threw up a little inside my mouth.