Walmart’s been caught trying to make a top-down social media strategy look like a grassroots action by hundreds of hourly workers—the retail giant is astroturfing, in other words. See, a social media “Thunderclap” lets hundreds of people post to Twitter or Facebook at the same time, increasing the likelihood that a topic will trend or at least start to break through the noise. A Thunderclap touting Black Friday as Walmart’s Super Bowl was identified as being from “a proud associate.” But it turns out that proud associate was Umang Shah, Walmart’s director of social strategy.Outed by Eric Ming as the originator of the Thunderclap, Shah argued that “proud associate” wasn’t deceptive because:
@EvoNeuro @ericming5 Also, please explain to all of your friends: all Walmart employees are called Associates, from the CEO to the Greeter.
Interesting. And are greeters paid the same as social strategy directors? No? I didn’t think so. Is the CEO routinely described as an associate? No? I didn’t think so.Walmart’s busy in the run-up to Thanksgiving arguing that its low-wage workers looove working on holidays and that the workers braving discipline and firing to walk out and strike on Black Friday are insignificant gnats flitting around a majority of super-happy Walmart employees. If so, why did they have to have their social media guy try to make it look like there was a popular uprising in support of working on Thanksgiving?
Laura Clawson writes on labor issues for Daily Kos, where this post originally appeared.