(Saturday morning update at the bottom.)
Whatever Ford is paying Scott Monty, they oughta pay him more. He’s been Tweeting all day.
Earlier today I described how Scott, the head of social media for Ford Motor Company, had his feet held to the fire by a recently formed virtual organization called Top Conservatives on Twitter. His day actually started well before the exchange I posted then. Around 9 a.m. he started trying to correct the “Big 3 Bailout” meme by pointing out that Ford, comparatively healthy, was not included in the failed bailout legislation. A Tweeter named 64 had quipped, “Can’t believe Daily News missed chance to run DC TO FORD: DROP DEAD this morning.” Scott replied, “@64 Ford wasn’t part of the proposed bill. See http://tinyurl.com/6hms95”. Then he was off to the races, and well into the evening he’s still Tweeting — he’s posted more than 140 Tweets today, all while serving as the public face of Ford Motor Company in the Tweetstream.
Some of the conversations might try the patience of a lesser man. Here he explains and defends his practice for handling “DMs” — direct messages, which unlike normal Tweets are private communications between two Tweeple:
Scott (I call him Scott ’cause he’s my BFF, we follow each other on Twitter) has attracted a lot of attention for his pioneering efforts in representing Ford in the world of social media. Just the other day, blogger Noah Mallin at Reprise Media described how Scott defused a mini-controversy:
Ford today sent fansite TheRangerStation.com (dedicated to lovers of their small pick-up trucks) a lawyerâ€™s letter over copyright violations. This sent the dozens of other Ford fan sites, many of which use Ford branded names, into a tizzy over fears that they too would be asked to stop using Ford names in their URLâ€™s and site materials. By the time the story surfaced on major car blogs like Jalopnik and Autoblog the story had been boiled down to Fordâ€™s lawyers asking for $5,000 or the site gets shut down.
It sounds like a clueless corporation alienating its fans, but the reality is more complicated. It turns out the site was offering counterfeit Ford paraphernalia for sale, and that (not the URL) was the reason for the lawyer letter. Scott sent the site owner a polite message of explanation, which is now proudly posted on the site’s forum.
If you’re still craving more information about my BFF Scott Monty, here’s a recent post on his personal blog about his work, which he likens to “fighting a forest fire with a squirt gun.”
Meanwhile, TCOT is gearing up for Operation Ford Motor, along with other Action Projects. Watch this space for more updates in the days ahead.
Update (Saturday, noonish): I notified Scott by DM when I posted the above last night, and joked that I’m trying to get him a raise. He has given me permission to print his DM back to me:
ScottMonty Thanks. But no raises in 2009. Search for “merit pay” on http://media.ford.com/article_download.cfm?article_id=29265
He points out that the announcement of no merit pay in the release he links is from Nov. 7, before there was any widespread discussion of an auto bailout.
In re-reading this and my other post from yesterday, I don’t think think I’ve made it clear enough why Scott Monty’s efforts are such a big deal. I spent nearly 20 years working in PR/communications for huge companies, either as an employee or a consultant. Huge companies are risk-averse by nature, and communications pros at big companies tend to be even MORE risk-averse — having had their heads handed to them multiple times for small or imaginary gaffes.
Scott is a breath of fresh air — and a braver man than I. After I posted last night saying he had Tweeted 140 times that day, he came back on with 20 more Tweets after midnight, and he’s made another 50 this (Saturday) morning. Virtually all of his messages are in response to individuals, some of whom are unfriendly — but what he says is out there for anyone to see. I’m amazed not so much by the sheer volume as by the fact that he clearly has a corporate mandate to fly solo. More than 200 Tweets in the last 28 hours — ain’t no way he’s running them by the Legal department, Government Relations, two EVPs, etc.