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Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition by Michael A. Stelzner

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Be Careful What You Say: The FedEx Story

“Everything you tweet is searchable on the Web. This can be good and bad. Good if you're strategically using keywords for which you want to be found, and bad if you aren't mindful that if you're not nice, it can come back to bite you!” says blogging expert Denise Wakeman. And that bite came back hard recently for PR agency Ketchum.

An employee working for the firm landed in Memphis to deliver a presentation to more than 150 people at FedEx. On arrival, he wrote the following on Twitter:

True confession, but I'm in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say, “I would die if I had to live here!”

It just so happened that a FedEx staffer saw the message and forwarded it to numerous company executives. FedEx drafted a response to the Ketchum employee. The last line of the letter says it all: “True confession: Many of my peers and I don't see much relevance between your presentation this morning and the work we do.” The story quickly spread across Twitter and the Internet.

This hard lesson is also a wake-up call for many businesses. Twitter is a public communication medium. Everything said is permanently etched in Twitter's digital fabric.

“While Twitter can be effective as a marketing tool, if you are not careful, it can become a viral tool for negative press. Anything typed in Twitter is ‘on the record’,” said Steven Talbott, Sr., vice president of Business Development at Caveo Learning & Performance.

Social media consultant Josh Peters ...

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