An inside story of the 45-day process that went into making one bland corporate tweet is riling up the Twitter-sphere, but that extensive time length is misleading folks about how the social media world actually works.
Business Insider spent a day at the offices of Huge Inc., a team of social media marketers and advertisers who run the accounts of eight different brands. The story particularly follows their work with one of those brands, President Cheese, which has a small Twitter following.
"We Got A Look Inside The 45-Day Planning Process That Goes Into Creating A Single Corporate Tweet," reads the story's headline. The President Cheese tweet in question was outlined in early March and finally posted on April 30th, and the result was an easily-missable post about room temperature and cheese.
It garnered no retweets and just two favorites before Business Insider wrote about it. That absurd ratio between the amount of planning and the lack of success of the tweet came in for plenty of criticism.
http://t.co/Mz7yGIe58j Beyond satire - how a social media agency took two months to plan one tweet which got no RTs (HT@adamblenford)— Rory Cellan-Jones (@ruskin147) May 27, 2014
This is AMAZING! 45 days of planning for a tweet about cheese, that gets no RT's. http://t.co/94fpye4U94— Vikki Stone (@vikkistone) May 27, 2014
And so on, with most of the focus on that comically long 45-day period.
But that focus on the 45 day period is a bit misleading. As writer Aaron Taube explains in the story, the creation of the tweet required just a few meetings, none of which seemed particularly time- or work-intensive. First, Huge held a preliminary discussion of President Cheese's "general themes" and casually planned out the next month's social media posts. Then a meeting with a copywriter and designer decided to emphasize the room temperature aspect of Camembert for one of those posts. Those workers then created the image and text for the tweet a week later. The tweet was reviewed and approved internally, and then posted to Twitter at the end of April.
The creation of the message — from concept to publishing — was indeed spread out over 45 days, but that doesn't mean it required 45 days of planning and coordination. And Huge also admits that even by their standards, that's an unusual amount of work. Huge community lead Andrew Cunningham told BI "that about one-third of Huge's social media posts are planned in this fashion with the rest being written on the fly." The majority of the workers' time was spent responding to customer service requests and following the online chatter on social media. Organizing certain evergreen posts — like so — ahead of time just makes their jobs a little easier.
Despite giving BI insider access to their process, Huge employees don't seem thrilled with the attention the story has received, and the criticism for their work that it's spawned.
"We Got A Look Inside The Process Behind Writing Inaccurate Clickbait"— Huge (@hugeinc) May 27, 2014
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.