Telstra takes the lead again: Fake Twitter IDs

The growth of mini-blogging tool Twitter has revealed a whole new range of issues for employees and employers. Today, it was revealed on Telstra's 'corporate activist' (some say propaganda) website,, that a Telstra employee has admitted to setting up a fake Twitter ID for Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy.

Telstra's approach to dealing with employee Leslie Nasser, aka Fake Stephen Conroy on Twitter, was released on Telstra's blog 'The Scrum' today.

Telstra's response was very modern:

Telstra is learning the best way to engage in social media - notice our response has come in the form of a blog versus a media release.

We believe transparency promotes credibility. This post is about getting the facts into the open.

Telstra-bashing has been fashionable for some time, but I would argue that the company is a lone voice in a sea of nothingness. Web 2.0 applications have enabled non-technical people to access the full power of the Internet but most organisations have been painfully slow to admit the obvious.

Some suggest this is all part of Telstra's grand plan, but in the absence of any other organisation which is publicly experimenting with Web 2.0 technologies, a little activism is not such a big deal. Indeed, it is difficult to be upset about Telstra's push for a charter of human rights for Australia (the last liberal democracy to adopt one). It may be Telstra's grand plan to stir up public support for the often unpopular dominant telco, but it certainly is a grand plan.

Experimentation with new media has to occur within the public's gaze if Australia is to reap the benefits of new media and remove the old shackles of being a technology follower. With so many organisations being fearfully conservative toward social networking tools, Telstra's recent adventures are at least bringing new media issues into the limelight. It's about time.