A Little Tweet to Fell a Bigger Bird

All hail Hasan Syed, this week’s victor supreme in the micro-blogging sphere. Or is he?

Syed is being touted as something of an ingenue after deciding to pay to promote his rather simple series of tweets condemning British Airways for losing his father’s luggage between Chicago and Paris:

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Twitter’s consumer advertising platform allows users to designate a tweet as more worthy of attention than others. Promoting the tweet allows them to share it with people that don’t technically follow them on Twitter. You can select the demographic you want to target and even ensure that the tweet shows up in a prominent position when particular search terms are used.

In this instance, Syed’s tweet was picked up by Mashable and became something of a viral success story. His condemnation of BA became a topic of public discussion and his words were re-tweeted and favourited countless times.

However, Syed may not actually be worthy of the genius title that has been bestowed upon him.

Firstly, he payed a rather excruciating amount of money (upwards of $1,000) for a service with no clear ends. Other than giving BA a bad rep – arguably one that they already had – he didn’t get much else out of it. The airline issued a predictable apology message, found his bags, he didn’t pursue monetary compensation. Deal done.

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Similarly disgruntled passengers have achieved the same, if not more impressive results, simply venting their spleen on the company Facebook page. An action which, it is worth pointing out, is free.

On top of this, he may well have targeted the wrong people. Although British Airways hosted the ticket sales and worked in partnership with the airlines who made the journeys, it was reportedly American Eagle who actually flew Syed’s parents for the Chicago-Newark leg and OpenSkies for the Newark-Paris leg. It remains a bit unclear how much BA should actually be held accountable for the loss of bags.

So, in this case of digital David and Goliath, although wee-Davey did indeed come out trumps, he may well have aimed his sling-shot at the wrong giant and lost an arm-and-a-leg in the process…

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