Unprofessional Twitter Behavior With a Brand’s Name: @WFAAweather

15

And here’s a few responses to that tweet:

RepliesToYaySexism

My take on this whole incident:

BlockPeople

Below is the text of an email I sent to WFAA’s President and General Manager this morning:

This is regarding this incident Friday night: https://twitter.com/stealingsand/status/300099617926811649

After I aired my opinions about his comments, @WFAAweather proceeded to block me, THEN reply to my comment (which I couldn’t see because I was blocked)…this behavior’s ridiculous. If you are intentionally riling people up, don’t block them.

Also: I didn’t follow the weather account to hear sexist “pot-stirring”…leave that incendiary garbage to Fox. I worked in a media department and they constantly told me the only news station whose professionalism I could really trust in DFW is WFAA, and now I wonder if even WFAA can be considered professional if they let (or encourage?) Pete to go bonkers on social media.

Anybody who does social media for a living knows that the weekends starting on Friday nights are the times when the fewest but most-involved followers are on. Because there’s not that much else going on they see everything, and are more likely to interact with your brand than during the week. This is a time of high visibility and attention, a time when you establish your brand’s flavor in the follower’s minds, not the time to stray.

I don’t care that Pete, personally, is a sexist good old boy (or plays one on TV) – I no longer watch the weather on the newscast because of his “personality”, but I do watch it on the WFAA app, and I followed him on Twitter to avoid that banter.

I’m sure that personality plays well to certain demographics because he thinks it’s working for him, and he keeps on doing it. But I didn’t follow “Pete Delkus” on Twitter, I followed “WFAA Weather” and I think he should open a personal account for the “pot-stirring” nonsense and leave the @WFAAweather account to actual weather.

Thank you for your time –

C

I don’t think this is butthurt because I really could care less if @WFAAweather “likes” me…I care about having reliable access to weather information from a professional, local source. I wanted the account to perform as advertised without offensive behavior. And this just wasn’t professional.

Update 2/13/12:

I’ve been unblocked, I’ve unblocked him in return, but I see no reason to re-follow. Haven’t heard anything from anybody at Belo/WFAA, don’t expect to.

He’s since apologized for sexist too many weather-related tweets the Saturday after. As a friend of mine commented on LinkedIn, this is classic old-school “any P.R. is good P.R.” nonsense.

Social media is so easy to master with minor effort and attention. It’s not rocket science. That means “at least they’re talking about us” is what you say when your social media efforts fail to create community and instead create public relations problems. See you on the Interwebz, folks.

15 Responses

  1. Sarah

    Thanks for posting this! I’m still blocked myself, can’t see his apology. And my comments to him never contained profanity or personal attacks… just a bit of sarcasm! Haven’t recieved any response from the general manager, either.

    • Colleen Lin

      No problem! I’ve ignored other “silliness” from his account before (because, you know, WEATHER) but after that insipid tweet it was pretty much over for me. 😉

  2. Harley

    If he wants to “generate comments” as a professional meteorologist and public figure, he should be sticking to “is Dallas weather the greatest weather in the world?”

    He’s married and has a daughter. I wonder if his wife is — or his daughter will be — a terrible driver, and if he makes fun of them based on a sexist stereotype.

    I look forward to the day when my own 3-year-old girls are able to eviscerate sexist morons like this. Y’know, like when they turn 4.

  3. Janet Johnson

    Yes, Pete attacked my friends and I when we called him out on his facebook post about voting for a reporter’s hairstyle. My one friend was called “sensitive” and that it was all in good fun. I have blocked him and I do not follow his feed at all. There are other reputable and more professional weather Twitter feeds to follow than his. I follow NBC 5… always professional and no BS!

    • Colleen Lin

      I’ve heard that from other people on teh Twitterz. I follow @NBCDFWWeather too, and there’s no shortage of weather-related accounts to follow. Their PR department should take note 😉

  4. Joe

    This gives me a great idea. From now on, when I feel like being a dick to someone, I’m going to say my offensive thought then shout “YOU JUST GOT DELKUS’D” and walk away.

  5. Nathan

    I’m not defending their actions to block you, but did you know that his comment was regarding a story that they had just ran about new parking spaces on the Denton Square? In the video there are lighthearted comments from both men and women about backing into parking spaces. http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/denton/Denton-town-square-redesign-has-residents-moving-backwards—-to-park-190470271.html

    My point being: it wasn’t just some comment that he came up with out of thin air. He was actually using social media to engage the audience regarding a story that had just aired, which is a good use of social media. Again, I’m not condoning them blocking you, but given the timing of the tweet and lighthearted nature of the story/video I think that the sexist claims might be a bit overblown.

    • Colleen Lin

      I see your point Nathan, but…he didn’t reference that, mention it…his handling of the situation was poor. Instead of responsibly engaging, he (accidentally?) set a fire then let it burn, but ignored his responsibility by blocking me and tuning me out. Had he mentioned that story it might have been a different outcome. But he didn’t. I’m sure he appreciates your defense, though 🙂

      • Harrison M.

        That being said, in that article, I don’t even see how Sparks’ comment about men being better at backing up cars is really relevant to the article. If WFAA’s staff and editors wanted to add levity to the story, they surely could have picked other quotes.

  6. Kim Knight

    I am really glad you did this. Though I did not see the incident to which you refer, I unfollowed WFAA weather after seeing Pete Delkus similarly abuse a colleague after she called him out on a sexist tweet from the account.

    • Colleen Lin

      Ugh. So this is a pattern. I was starting to wonder if (as Nathan above suggested) I was simply picking on him for a single misstep. If there’s a pattern of sexism this should really be addressed by WFAA.

  7. Laura H.

    Everything considered, his behavior really was unacceptable for the account. He represents the whole station — a station, as you mention, many of us rely on for professionalism and accuracy in journalism. They certainly have some personalities, but I have always respected their high standards. Then this. I don’t know if he was drunk or just having fun, but it does reflect poorly on his station. (So no, I don’t think this is butthurt. This is a fair reaction to some rash decisions made by a (very public) member of the WFAA team.)

      • Laura H.

        I kind of hope he was. Does that make me a terrible person? I mean, he gave mad props to our favorite Sarah B (err, something like that) so he can’t be all bad, right? Just a little wasteface on a Friday night with no friends around to grab his cell phone! That’s an awesome story! (I am in no way claiming that this is what happened or that there is any reason to suspect Pete Delkus EVER drinks alcohol, much less has a drinking problem. I’m just saying that I imagine he’s a funny drunk. The end.)