Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? – the kind of question that doesn’t have a right answer but which a teenager called Eddie recently had to respond to as part of his shift running the Twitter account for Southern Rail.

That he answered the question, and many others completely disconnected with the train company he was working for, has divided opinion in social media land.

A number of PR professionals have decried the experiment as disrespecting their profession and accused Southern Rail of trying to take the attention away from criticism of its services, exploiting Eddie in the process.

But is that sour grapes from pompous people jealous of the cut through that Eddie made during his week’s work experience? I expect so. After all, Twitter has a reputation for encouraging trolls no matter how good an original intention.

 

 

From my perspective, Eddie was a breath of fresh air on a channel which over the past few months – with terrorism and politics the battleground for a huge number of personal insults – had become rather tiresome.

Eddie advising someone what to have for tea and debating the speed that sharks swim was a more refreshing approach to communication.

And, hey, guess what – his tweets were no less well crafted and often funnier than some of those produced by experts.

It’s true that his 15 minutes of fame shouldn’t deflect from the issues the rail industry faces, or deny customers the chance to have a voice, but for the sake of one week, this was an experiment that was bold and very well executed.

 

 

* What do you think? Did Southern use Twitter in the wrong way? Or should they be praised for an initiative which breathed new life into the format? You can tweet us @sequel_group with your thoughts!

 

Nick Andrews, Business Development Director, Sequel