Hungary: Bloggers Discuss the Corporate Use of Social Media

Some two weeks ago T-Mobile Hungary had problems with its mobile network service after an overnight software update. Lots of costumers reported that they couldn't receive or make calls, or send or get their text messages. T-Mobile tweeted on their corporate Twitter account (HUN) at 10:20 AM, December 4 (HUN):

In reference to the problem of network, an official statement will be released. We beg your patience!

It was not the tweet of T-Mobile, and not even the interruption of their service, which later generated a vivid online discussion, but the reaction of Vodafone Hungary to the phenomenon. The first step was re-tweeting an answer of their online marketing department employee. Tamás Müller, who was managing the Vodafone Hungary Twitter account (HUN) that day, tweeted at 11:49 AM (HUN):

Ok, ring us up! ;) RT @tmobilehungary In reference to the problem of network, an official statement will be released. We beg your patience!

Hungarian internet users were very much on the spot, and they soon discovered that Vodafone Hungary started a Google AdWords campaign related to the outage of T-Mobile. Orosznyet of BurninGames (HUN) posted a screenshot of the advertisement that appeared when he googled up “T-Mobile broke down” – and he also commented on it (HUN):

[…] The point is that Vodafone kept its end up and reacted fast. They set up a Google AdWords advertisement: “With us you can still reach your friends!” […] I like the style of Vodafone, even if it's a big company, they're not forcing the office blurb, but the one that everybody uses. […]

The story continued some days later with the dismissal of the re-tweeting Vodafone employee. The author of Webisztán (HUN) – one of the most relevant IT-related Hungarian blogs – Hírbehozó (also known as hh), published an interview (HUN) with Tamás Müller:

As you all know, Vodafone dismissed one of their newly employed colleagues in online marketing. The reason was that during the time of last Friday's big T-offline, he dared to write on Twitter this message.

The news of his firing evoked steady revulsion among the readers of Index (in the meantime commenting has been disabled [to the article of]) and among twitterers, too. After this I contacted the protagonist of the case, Tamás Müller… […]

After discussing the corporate use of social media in general, Tamás Müller re-told the story of his tweet and the Google advertisements to Hírbehozó. “In the judgement of Vodafone in that given situation, taking those steps hadn't been ethical, and since I hadn't agreed on them within doors, they dismissed me from my job,” he said.

Later on Hungarian twitterers started to re-tweet Müller's message (HUN):

So, yes. Unfortunately, I'm looking for a new job because of the Vodafone-RT RT this, if you'd like to help. ;)

The group of Müller's supporters is still growing, and now they are discussing, collecting and producing content related to his case on a Facebook page.

Some days ago Mátyás Dobó (also known as Doransky), another expert in online activity-related affairs, published (HUN) a sort of a study on the case, which he prepared on a request from Vodafone.

The post of Doransky right away generated reactions in the Hungarian blogosphere. Bloggers of Karmamedia (HUN) wrote this (HUN):

[…] We heavily criticized poor Telekom, that it would be the time of updating their crisis communication manual, and think over their behavior in online communities. Favored by fortune, we can suggest the same to Voda. Without reference to Tamás Müller: unless there are no frameworks for using social media, tomorrow the same can happen to anybody. […]

Explaining his doubts, hh of Webisztán wrote an “unsponsored” post (HUN), in which he accused Vodafone of pushing positive PR by requesting a case study from an expert, leaking this information, and then “arranging” for the article to be published. Hírbehozó called the organizational establishment of Vodafone “arrogant” and added:

[…] Second, I take it as a blurring that Doransky adopted the argument of Vodafone, according to which it wasn't the ominous tweet, but the AdWords advertisements that blew the gasket at the management of the mobile provider. To me it's totally evident that they're emphasizing this because they want to act as if they wouldn't have ever had any problem with Twitter. […]

As for the breakdown of the T-Mobile service, according to (HUN), János Winkler, the deputy director of the company, announced that their loss was 700 million HUF, together with the recompensation to their costumers.


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