Would you like to join me for dinner?
Next Monday, October 5, 2009 at 6:00pm, I’ll be enjoying some pizza and a couple of pints at The Pizza Kitchen and I’d love your company. I can promise you’ll experience friendly service, tasty pizza and a funky atmosphere full of Elvis memorabilia.
The reason for my friendly invitation is that I need to remind myself that it is perfectly ok for me to share my experiences using social media. I read a couple of articles this week about a lawsuit against the owner of The Pizza Kitchen because he shared on FaceBook and Twitter that he was unhappy with the service he got from a vendor. You can read the details for yourself, but I’ve pulled out my favorite quotes below.
Robyn Askew, the attorney representing The Pizza Kitchen, said, "We are responding appropriately to a lawsuit that we consider to be without merit."
It may not be apparent now, but one day in the history books you might find this story where an advertising agency sued their client, because their client seemed to be able to get a message out using social media more efficiently than the ad agency could counter with traditional means.
I lived behind The Pizza Kitchen for five years, in the Farmington neighborhood. I had many delicious pizzas from that friendly establishment. I have many pleasant memories of evenings spent on the patio of TPK with friends. The owner, Travis, isn’t a personal friend but I interacted with him and his staff regularly for five years. My impressions are 100% positive. Personally, I don’t think Travis would say anything about a vendor if he didn’t believe it to be true.
I am not an attorney, and such speech may well be illegal under contract law for all I know, but that isn’t what’s important to me. What I care about is that this, seemingly petty, lawsuit not have a chilling effect on speech in our nascent social network community here in Knoxville and elsewhere.
I get lots of useful consumer info from Twitter such as current deals and new bands I want to listen to. I also get other info such as warning of a highway patrolman on I-40 with a radar gun. I value all this information and I don’t want to see people stop sharing information because they fear legal retribution.
Just yesterday, on Twitter, I heard about an extremely positive experience with Sears extended warranty service. I have a fairly low opinion of Sears and there is no way that Sears could have raised my opinion that quickly with traditional marketing. I now have a positive concept about the company that was put there by a trusted source: a social network friend.
The irony in The Pizza Kitchen situation, is that they are being sued by a marketing firm. Do you see the irony? The marketing firm is spreading Travis’s message that they are douche bags for him.
There are currently 1471 people following my semi-random comments on Twitter. All those people have people following them etc. Vendors and customers are equals now. It’s a different world and a different business landscape than before. We all get to express our opinions.