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Telstra & Twitter: Embarrassed or Innovative?

Journalists are having a field day with Telstra's new social media policy. But some of the traditional media reporting on Telstra's new policy has been overly conservative.

While the Fake Stephen Conroy episode on Twitter provides an interesting example of the difficulties for corporate governance in the New Media era, reporting on Telstra's policy is simply more Telstra-bashing:
AFTER being embarrassed by one of its employees on micro-blogging site Twitter, Telstra will today release a new policy governing how staff can talk about the company online, even in private conversations.
I am sick of Telstra-bashing. Telstra is what it is because the previous federal government made it so. Nothing more, nothing less. Yet in the absence of any leadership from the federal government on New Media technologies, which have unlimited potential to improve democracy through citizen engagement and participation in policy development, Telstra leads again.

Telstra's handling of 'Twittergate' has been exemplary. It indicates that the company is serious about using New Media as part of its operations. No employer allows staff to 'go public' without consequences. I don't see the new policy as mitigating 'embarrassment' at all. This is simply a case of the company experimenting and developing policies as new issues arise. The so-called 'guardrails' Telstra has developed are a step in the right direction.

Australia is already stuck in the innovation mud with conservative mindsets. No matter how many reports on innovation the government drums up, unless the collectively conservative mindset is changed, we will continue to be at the wrong end of the innovation spectrum.

Journalists really need to get with the program. Innovation is essential if we are to get out of the GFC hole. But the collectively conservative mindset is a hindrance to innovation and such conservative reporting doesn't help at all.

Maybe the traditional custodians of free speech are feeling a bit threatened by New Media? Some advice I have received in the past is relevant here: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

Telstra should not be embarrassed, it should be applauded.

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