What’s a Twintern anyway?

What’s a Twintern anyway?

Sitting around the dinner table a fellow marketer the other day I heard this term I never heard before … a Twintern.

Sure you probably heard of a Marketing Intern before … you know someone from a local college looking to learn a bit over the summer, maybe get their foot in the door of a multi billion dollar firm and who might make them an offer when they graduate.

I was shocked to learn that this company actually hired one of these Marketing Interns just to “Do Twitter for us” into a role they dubbed a “Twintern”

OMG I almost fell off my chair!

When did it become ok to just give anyone off the street the keys to one of the most important assets you have … your Brand! I remember the days when we used to have very senior executive who were really well versed in the company and highly compensated for their ability to communicate – we called them the Corporate Spokesperson!

When did it become ok to fire the Corporate Spokesperson and replace them with a Twintern? Holy Cow we must be in times of irrational exuberance with Social Media if that’s the case.

I basically went off about how companies like Nestle are the poster child for the case study on why you shouldn’t hire a Twintern just to “do twitter” (or in their case do Facebook). Kids don’t even like Twitter they much prefer Facebook, Twitter seems to be an older phenomenon. And I am not convinced that someone fresh out of college is able to handle a multi billion dollar brand. Go ahead call me old fashioned – I dare you!

4 comments to What’s a Twintern anyway?

  • Having twinterns is like having employees at a call center. It’s not a complicated job. You usually don’t have people with doctorates and 20 years experience manning the phone lines, why would tweeting be any different?

  • Its a fair point – but at least a call center gives you some training and they also dont let you “own” the communications channel on your first day on the job!

  • It depends on the twitter account. i.e. if its ‘THE’ corporate brand.. no way would I let a twintern manage it.

    However lots of corporations now have multiple accts for twitter, i.e. @companyx, @companyxsupport, @companyxdev, etc.

    Integration of twitter for those accounts into call centres is a huge deal today. Responding to customers questions, issues and highlights is part of the call cetnres responsibility. Training them to respond appropriately and in the organizational manner is key.

    Still not a Twitern’s responsibility.

  • Totally agree Adam – and I have also seen them as ATTSally etc so more personal therefore less responsibility from the brand and more personal reputation on the line

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