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What’s the story with #Habitat Intern?

This is my first post on Daren’s blog – the opinions therefore are mine and not Daren’s.  His passion is short comms and you’ll find him on Twitter – @DarenBBC (He’ll also be writing his thoughts on here from time to time)

So, back to the story.  As someone who works for a big corporate, I must say that I’ve looked and observed with interest how the HabitatUK story has unfolded over the past few weeks.

For those who are oblivious to HabitatUK’s venture on twitter the first case study came out a couple of days after: How not to use Twitter: HabitatUK as a case study. Basically, HabitatUK were using the tags in trending topics to market their wares.

Image from Digital Tip – How not to use Twitter: HabitatUK as a case study

It was particularly insensitive as there was political unrest in Iran at the time and some of the tags were those closely associated to the troubles.  So what followed was of course predictable, the twitter community are eagle-eyed and saw what was unfolding.  The retweets and comments started soon after.  Even the media (BBC, Telegraph.co.uk, SkyNews) picked up the story. HabitatUK’s response – delete all of the tweets they had ever written (bad move).  The next tweet was quite controlled:

@HabitatUK tweet 20 June

Apology – too little, too late?

They made no reference to what had happened until 24th June – too little, too late?  Then they blamed the error on an intern.  Habitat’s press office sent a letter to Social Media Today:

Habitat explains

The hashtag #HabitatIntern is born

So, now here is where Daren gets involved.  He is trying to hunt down the intern that was blamed for the hashtag debacle and offer training and an internship with him. Some of his followers also tried to help by offering CD’s and vinyl records to find the intern.  One of Daren’s followers amended Habitat’s wikipedia page with a spam entry.

There have been over 200 tweets written by Daren and others trying to find this intern to no avail.

#HabitatIntern tag

HabitatUK’s response so far, well there hasn’t been one.  I would have thought that although it’s quite hard for a big corporate to respond to all tweets (as there are other more appropriate channels), HabitatUK should have taken Daren’s concern offline as soon as they saw that he had managed to engage other people in his quest – this didn’t happen.

Daren has given HabitatUK a deadline of 4pm UK time to respond… what happens next? Only Daren knows 🙂