Three years ago, the 2.0 world was buzzin’ about ‘WalMarting Across America’

I cross posted this item at my new Posterous site — my latest 2.0 addiction. The event is significant enough to warrant broader coverage in the Sledzik Social Media Network. And I really need to get a life.

WalMarting Across America: Jim & Laura's Blog

WalMarting Across America: Jim & Laura's Blog

Ah, the good old days.

It was Oct., 12, 2006, and my first month as a blogger when I came across this story in Business Week. It involved Jim and Laura and the fake blog called “Wal-Marting Across America.” The story became instant folklore in the 2.0 digital world of PR and marketing. I wrote about it here — three years ago yesterday.

The story caused quite blow-up in the blogosphere, not to mention great embarrassment to the blog’s creators, Edelman Public Relations. Prior to “Wal-Marting,” Edelman had been the leading proponent of social media in PR practice. And thanks to a swift response to this crisis, the firm has maintained that leadership position.

Patterson6The “Wal-Marting” case is now in the ethics textbooks, and we all have a chance to learn from it. My students read about it just today.

But speaking objectively, was the case really all that high-profile? Ask anyone outside the 2.0 echo chamber about Wal-Mart’s fake blog and you’ll likely get a blank stare. Sometimes what happens here isn’t nearly as important as we think it is.

Regardless, it’s been a great case from which my students can learn the value and the importance of transparency and authenticity — two things I fear the 2.0 world will never achieve.


2 Responses to Three years ago, the 2.0 world was buzzin’ about ‘WalMarting Across America’

  1. Mark W. Schaefer says:

    Hard to believe that was three years ago. I seem to recall at the time that it was a pretty big deal. Any time you mention ethics and Wal-Mart in the same sentence, you are boumd to get some coverage. It got my attention, any way. : )

  2. I will add this to the list of things that are making me feel old lately; that was three years ago?!? We hadn’t yet started our blog at that point, but I certainly remember the furor about the ethical ramifications of a PR firm posing as their client, misrepresenting themselves and their client… Let’s hope that both Walmart and Edelman learned a valuable lesson in that episode.

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